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In February 2019, Madalynn was lying in a hospital bed at the Clinical Center, facing complications after her bone marrow transplant. Fast forward to February 2020 when Madalynn, now 24 years old, visited the Clinical Center for her one-year follow-up. She feels happy, healthy and essentially symptom-free.

Madalynn suffered from a GATA 2 Deficiency, a rare genetic condition that causes symptoms much like those of a blood cancer. She had experienced symptoms for a large part of her life, but it took years for doctors to figure out the cause of these symptoms. After a five-month stay at the Clinical Center, Madalynn was able to return to her home in Texas.

One year later, Madalynn says she is a lot better than she thought she would be. Although she faced many complications, things are looking up for her now. She has gone back to school full-time at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, where she studies sports medicine. Her time in treatment has led to a passion for helping others recover. She is going to work hard through the summer so that she can graduate from college in December 2020.

Madalynn is also mom to Avery, age 1 ½, who she describes as “wild” and “crazy.” After only being able to see her daughter three times during her five-month stay at the NIH, Madalynn now gets to go home to Avery every day after classes.

Madalynn is proud of what she has been able to accomplish despite her circumstances. She says most people can’t “bounce back” the way she did.

“Taking a year out to have a kid, and then taking another year out to have a transplant, it’s a rough state,” Madalynn says.

In terms of the future, Madalynn is most excited about getting a job as an athletic trainer at a high school. She says she already has two job offers on the table.

To this day, Madalynn still stresses how grateful she is for Friends at NIH’s support in helping her family pay for an apartment near the NIH campus. She called Friends at NIH a “godsend.”

“Friends of Patients was the best thing that was ever sent our way,” Madalynn says.

Madalynn now refers to herself as “the new me.” She now lives a life where she doesn’t have to worry about getting sick constantly. No longer does a common cold send Madalynn to the hospital; after treatment, she is now able to live her life more freely.

“It’s a better life, knowing I had a second chance at it,” Madalynn said.

The Friends of Patients at the NIH