19 Dec The Allsop Family Story
When King Solomon Allsop was two years old, his parents, Mariana and Siree, noticed that he constantly seemed fatigued, had sporadic high temperatures, and showed an uncommon amount of bruises—even on his eyelids. His pediatrician in the Poconos, where the Allsops live, performed immediate blood tests and the results helped diagnose King with aplastic anemia. This serious and rare condition causes bone marrow damage, which severely slows or stops the production of new blood cells. It can be life-threatening as the body is left unable to fight off infection and disease.
King began receiving blood transfusions every week to build up his blood cell count and platelet levels. He was eventually declared transfusion dependent, meaning he needed the transfusions to survive. When King was six, his doctors determined that King would need a bone marrow transplant and referred them to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Because of King’s fragile state, the Allsops were told that his procedure and recovery time would be lengthy.
As they began to prepare for the trip to Philadelphia for King’s treatment, the Allsops explored many options and all of them seemed grim. They thought they would need to rent an apartment—even though they could not afford it—because they would be away from home for so long. Siree shares, “It was very stressful. We were trying to figure out how we could pay rent on an apartment, our mortgage, all of our other bills, support our family and, on top of all of that, we’d both need to take a lot of time off work so at least one of us could be with King while he was in the hospital. It seemed impossible. We even moved our wedding date up before King’s transplant. We didn’t know what the future would hold and knew it was important that he see us get married.”
When a social worker at CHOP told them about the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House, the Allsops were thrilled. “You never expect that your child and family will have to go through something like this and for such a long period of time. The House has alleviated so much stress and lessened a huge financial burden,” shares Siree.
King has a rare type of bone marrow, making it difficult to find a match for his transplant within his family and even in donor banks. His mother is only a 50 percent match and, although it was risky, doctors were hopeful that performing a half-match bone marrow transplant could help improve King’s condition. King’s first bone marrow transplant failed, but thankfully, a second transplant about a month later was successful. Both of the transplants and King’s recovery process took over six months, and the Allsops were grateful to have the House as a resource during those months.
The House offered the Allsops other comforts that helped make their situation a little easier, as King has to miss out on many of the day-to-day activities of childhood, like playing with his friends. “The play room helped separate the House from the hospital. My wife and I enjoy seeing King have fun and laugh while he’s at the House and we are so grateful that we’ve been able to stay here,” says Siree.
The House also served the family for a more critical purpose—supporting King’s delicate health. “Once King was allowed to leave the hospital, the House was vital to his safety,” Siree says. “We had to be within a half an hour of the hospital in case King’s temperature spiked⎯or his life could be seriously in danger. The House offers many benefits, but King’s safety is obviously our number one concern.” King’s condition makes every day things such as laundry and drinking water a challenge for him and his family. Every single day, the Allsops have to be sure to wash his clothes, sheets, towels and any other linen that he is in contact with. Fortunately, the resources at the House make it easier to keep King healthy. “Laundry may not sound like a big deal, but we wouldn’t be able to do this amount if we were staying anywhere else and King’s health would be in jeopardy without it. They even offer the right type of water that he can drink.”
The Allsops also bonded with the staff and volunteers while staying at the House. Siree shared, “everyone went above and beyond to accommodate our needs.” King excitedly mentioned that his favorite moment of being at the House was when a Guest Chef Group helped him bake an apple pie. He says, “I usually don’t like sweet things but my apple pie was delicious. I want to make another one.”
We are grateful to have made this difficult time a little easier for their family. King Solomon is recovering well from his transplants and we look forward to seeing the Allsops when they return to Philadelphia for his follow up appointments.