Belle was adopted from China when she was 19 months old. When her parents first met her, they knew she was special. They also knew Belle had potentially devastating blood disorder called thalassemia, which would require a lot of medical care. In China, thalassemia is a diagnosis that can devastate a family. The staff knew if she was going to live she needed to be adopted by a family that could get her the care that she needs.
When her parents finally got home with her they immediately saw Lakshmanan Krishnamurti, M.D. at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh to begin her treatment. They knew that, at UPMC Children’s, they would have access to the excellent clinical treatment found at a top 10 children’s hospital, right in their backyard. Through testing, the medical team found that she had beta thalassemia major, the most severe form of thalassemia.
In August 2013, she had a mediport placed and began a routine of blood transfusions every three weeks. With regular transfusions, Belle is at risk of iron overload, which affects her liver and heart. She takes two medications every morning and every evening to combat iron overload.
A Healthy Future for the Whole Family
Belle’s parents felt comfortable adopting another child with thalassemia because of the care Belle received so close to home at UPMC Children’s. Thirteen months after Belle began treatment, they welcomed 7-year-old Betty-June into their family. Now, Belle and Betty-June can receive the care they deserve.
Today, Belle is a happy 11-year-old American girl. She loves her hospital days, and her parents make sure those days are special. Belle does no schoolwork on those days, plays UNO with her favorite Child Life specialists, does crafts, and always has sushi for lunch from the hospital cafeteria. A force of nature, Belle has earned the nickname “BelleDozer.” She is a cheerleader and a runner, she has joined band and choir at school, and she has loads of friends. She loves to spend time with her best friend and cousin, 8-year-old Brylee. Belle, Betty-June, and her family are looking forward to a healthy future.
Belle’s story is featured as a part of the KDKA Free Care Fund Telethon. By supporting Telethon, you support every kid like Belle in achieving the healthy future they deserve.