PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Remote school and social distancing are hard for kids and teenagers, but one local teen has been doing it for two years because he's immune-compromised.
When you see Kyaire Brown-Hatcher dancing in his PJs, he doesn't look like someone who's been in and out of the hospital for two years for weeks on end, but Kyaire isn't an ordinary teenager.
"Since he was a small kid, he's always been very upbeat and just positive about everything," says his mom, Danielle Anderson.
"I always just kind of took everything on the chin," Kyaire says. "It definitely took a toll on me. I'm not going to act like no big macho. I'm not gonna say that it didn't affect me, but it didn't damage me as much as you think it would."
Kyaire first went to Children's Hospital two years ago after having migraines, stomach pain and jaundiced-looking eyes.
He describes his eyes as looking a deep yellow color. His mom said it looked like they were glowing.
One of his doctors at UPMC Children's Hospital, Dr. Jessie Barnum, who specializes in bone marrow transplants, says, "He had an incredibly complicated course that necessitated the expertise of a number of specialists here at Children's, including hematology, rheumatology, immunology, genetics, myself in hematology."
Dr. Barnum says Kyaire was in acute liver failure from liver disease, developed aplastic anemia and was immunodeficient. He got many treatments and medications over two years, including radiation and chemo where he lost his long hair. This past September, he got a bone marrow transplant to help his immune system.
Dr. Barnum says Kyaire's hard work and attitude have helped him recover.
"When he was an inpatient, he was setting records for walking laps around the unit," Dr. Barnum said.
Kyaire graduated from eighth grade with the help of his teachers at Penn Hills schools who gave him his schoolwork to do in the hospital and at home, and now he's a sophomore. He's even getting back to working out.
Remarkably, this 16-year-old thinks about his doctors and nurses more than himself.
"I've always made sure that I get close with the people that see me because it was the people that are taking care of me," Kyaire says, "so I made sure that it was not only the best experience for myself but for the others around me."
Dr. Barnum says because everyone has to social distance during the pandemic, it's actually been easier for some of her teenage patients because they're not the only ones having to do it. All of their friends are too.
Kyaire hopes to meet his bone marrow donor someday, and Dr. Barnum says they need more donors, especially with fewer people donating in the pandemic, so if you want to see if you're a match for someone like Kyaire, go to: https://bethematch.org/
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