Transplant Recipient Celebrates 20-Year Anniversary Amidst Eclipse

The Pless family of Meadville, Pennsylvania, is celebrating a remarkable milestone as they commemorate 20 years since their daughter, Julia Pless, underwent a life-saving bone marrow transplant. In 2003, Julia was diagnosed with Fanconi anemia, a rare genetic disorder that severely affects the production of blood cells. The family embarked on a search for a suitable donor, organizing a drive that tested and registered more than 600 potential donors. Against the odds, a match was found, and Julia received the bone marrow transplant at Fairview University Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Today, Julia still lives with the effects of the disorder and regularly attends medical appointments, but she is grateful for the support she received during her harrowing experience and hopes to give back by raising funds for the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund.

Coinciding with this momentous occasion is the much-anticipated solar eclipse. Julia, who has always been fascinated by space, noted that when she learned about the eclipse, she made sure to mark the date as it coincided with her “bone marrow birthday.” The Pless family has even designed T-shirts that feature an eclipse image in place of the zero in “Julia’s 20th Bone Marrow Birthday.” While Julia acknowledges that her radiation treatment was the worst day of her life, she remains resilient and focused on living her life to the fullest. In June, she is set to marry her fiancé, Gregory Middendorf. To express their gratitude and remember those who helped them during their challenging journey, the Pless family is organizing an online fundraiser for the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund, with the goal of raising $5,000.

This extraordinary story serves as a reminder of the power of community and the impact that each individual can have. The support and generosity of strangers allowed Julia to receive the life-saving treatment she needed. Additionally, Julia’s resilience throughout her ongoing battle with Fanconi anemia highlights the strength and determination she possesses. As Julia celebrates her “bone marrow birthday” and looks to the future, she reflects on the importance of living life to the fullest and expressing gratitude for the moments and people that have shaped her journey.


Transplant News
Transplant News

Transplant News brings you the news and content that matters to the transplant community. From patient stories, to the latest in transplant innovation, Transplant News is your window into the world of transplantation.