March Patient of the Month: Anna Henning

Anna Henning

Baby Anna Leigh Henning was fighting for her life even before she was born. She was born prematurely at 30 weeks and is currently in the NICU. This sweet little girl has a long, difficult road ahead of her and desperately needs help.

In 2010, Anna's mother, Sheri, gave birth to a baby boy named Jacob Aden. Sheri was distraught to learn he was suffering from junctional epidermolysis bullosa (JEB), a rare disease causing the skin to blister upon the simplest touch. JEB can also affect the mouth, esophagus and internal organs, making it difficult for babies to eat. Jacob lost his health battle after just seven weeks.

In 2011, Sheri became pregnant with twin girls. Just before Christmas, she received the devastating news that Anna also had JEB, but the other baby did not, and her bone marrow could save Anna's life. The plan was to relocate to Minnesota during Sheri's 34th week of pregnancy, where a team of doctors has been doing groundbreaking work in treating JEB. The babies would be monitored, and Anna's own stem cells and bone marrow from her twin would be harvested. After a few months, Anna would undergo chemotherapy and a stem cell and bone marrow transplant, using the treated cells and marrow from her twin sister and herself.

Sadly, Sheri required an emergency C-section when she was just 30 weeks pregnant, and the healthy twin did not survive. Plans are still in place for Anna to undergo the transplant, and she and Sheri will be transferred to Minnesota soon.

Anna's family needs your help. To read more about her story or to make a donation in her honor, please visit her page on the NFT website.