C.J. Clinkscales is an amazing young athlete with dreams of making it to the Junior Olympics this summer. He is a true star on the track, but off the track, he is not just a star -- he is a hero. C.J. put his Junior Olympic plans on hold just months ago to help save his sister’s life.
“C.J.’s sister, Lauryn who is now 10 years old, was born with Sickle cell anemia,” his father, Craig Clinkscales explained. “On April 11, C.J. came to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and went through the process of extracting his bone marrow from both sides of his hip for his sister. On that same day several hours after they received the bone marrow from C.J., they transferred his bone marrow to his sister.”
C.J. is only 8 years old, so he may not fully understand just what this brave act of kindness really means. But what he does understand is that this will help prevent all of those frequent visits to the hospital that he has seen his sister go through over the years.
“Growing up he has seen us wake up in the middle of the night and take Lauren to the emergency room,” Craig Clinkscales said. “Sometimes she would have to be admitted to the hospital for several days or weeks, and he remembers that. For him he just knows that he is doing this so his sister never has to do that again. He knows he has done something good, and Lauryn will not have to go to the doctor so frequently anymore. C.J. and Lauryn are very close. They are only 20 months apart, and they have a very tight bond. For C.J., he feels like he is a superhero.”
Like a true hero, C.J. fought for his sister and he is now fighting for his Junior Olympic dreams. He was set back with the bone marrow transplant and had to take three weeks off from track. In addition, because he gave up so much blood, doctors said that it may take up to two months for his body to build back all of the blood he gave.
“Right now he is working hard, and is on track to reach his goal to make it to the Junior Olympics despite his three weeks off,” Craig Clinkscales said proudly. “He will find out at a big track meet in June. I am very proud of him, he is on pace and is working hard to try to solidify his spot.”
In addition to C.J.’s excellent recovery, the Clinkscales family recently received more wonderful news.
“On May 1 Lauryn was well enough to be released from the hospital to the Ronald McDonald House because her blood counts were up,” Craig Clinkscales said. “Then On May 22, we had a huge mile stone, we found out that her body is producing 100 percent of C.J.’s blood, so she has no more Sickle cell anemia disease.”
C.J. Clinkscales is a determined athlete, a loving brother, and most certainly a true hero!
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