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Family Hopes Boy, 1, Can Be His Sister's 'Little Hero'

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- It is every parent's worst nightmare -- finding out your child has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.

"She was bruising like crazy," Joe Brynteson said. "It started out with her legs and then it kind of went up to her arms and her chest."

Just two months ago, Joe and April Brynteson found out that their 3-year-old daughter, Addison, has a rare bone marrow disorder.

The Bryntesons initially thought their daughter had an iron deficiency. But after blood tests, doctors determined she had Aplastic Anemia, a condition that has weakened her immune system to the point that even a common cold could be fatal.

Unless she gets a transplant, she may not see her fourth birthday.

But there is a would-be hero to this story. Someone Addison knows very well.

Addy's 1-year-old brother, Cayden, is a match for a bone marrow transplant.

"I think even if he could choose to do this...he would choose to do this. He's our little hero," Joe Brynteson said.

This would be the ultimate gift, but it means both children in surgery at the same time.

"It's hard to explain to him the positives and that you are glad it's happening and you are proud of him...when you're kind of unsure," April Brynteson said.

There are just a few more tests to go through to see if the transplant can be done. If they check out, the family will head to surgery. And afterwards Addy will spend months in the hospital.

"They already said that because of this she won't be able to have children and she is twice as likely to come down with cancer," Joe Brynteson said. "So, really, that's the biggest obstacles we are going to have."

But Cayden can at least give his big sister a fighting chance. He's still learning to his first words, but hopefully someday he and his sister can talk about the special bond between them.

"I want to see my baby turn four. Right now, that's all," April Brynteson said.

Addy needs up to five blood transfusions a week right now. Medical bills have become extremely expensive for her family.

The Children's Organ Transplant Association will be putting on a benefit for Addy on Jan. 19 at Mac and Chester's in Oak Grove.

Helping Addy

You can help Addy's family pay for the expensive procedure by donating through the Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA).


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