Gabby Stephens
Gene: TINF2

Gabby is a spunky kid living in New Zealand with her mum and dad, Megan and Andrew, and her older sister and brother, Ruby and Lachlan. Gabby’s first trip to hospital was in November 2014 at the age of 4, following a blood test that showed blood counts were all rock bottom. We took her to the doctor because she was extremely pale (almost yellowish), bruised easily and was always tired. Our lives were turned upside down with one phone call during which Megan was told that the results of the blood test pointed toward Gabby having Leukemia. After a bone marrow biopsy the following week we found out a few weeks later that Gabby in fact had Dyskeratosis Congenita and was in severe bone marrow failure. The wheels were set in motion towards a bone marrow transplant. Six months later just a few weeks after her fifth birthday, Gabby went to transplant with her brother Lachy as her donor.

Since her transplant Gabby has been in fairly stable health. Her symptoms of DC include severe nail dystrophy, severe osteopenia, lacrimal duct stenosis in both eyes and learning difficulties. The one symptom that affects her the most day to day is fatigue. Gabby gets tired easily and has gone from attending school full time to now attending 2-4 days a week. Gabby goes to Girl Guides, loves watching YouTube, and loves family time. Everywhere she goes people just love her sense of humour and spunky personality.

Team Telomere have been an enormous support to our family and I have made some lifelong friends from this group. We have attended Camp Sunshine twice and can’t wait to get back again to see our friends. I’m also proud to be a Global Ambassador for Team Telomere in the Pacific region.

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