When Ticynn London ’21 MSAT was born, her doctors didn’t know what was wrong with her. Her birthweight was low and her thumb was underdeveloped. As she got older, she bruised easily, her skin was discolored, she had frequent nosebleeds, and she had a hard time shaking colds and other childhood illnesses.
Eventually, she was diagnosed with Fanconi anemia (FA), a rare genetic blood disorder.
The only cure for FA is a bone marrow transplant. Despite a one-in-10,000 chance that a family member would be a suitable match, London received a bone marrow transplant from her father, college football coach Mike London, when she was 7 years old. She’s been healthy ever since.
For 10 years, London was an ambassador for Be The Match and its National Marrow Donor Program. She also shared her story on ESPN and Daily Blast Live, a national news show. These experiences encouraged her to do more.
“As I celebrated my 23rd birthday this past November, it’s important to remember that there are thousands of children just like me who are dealing with this terrible disease,” London wrote on her website earlier this year.
“My work with the Be The Match Foundation has inspired me to create my own foundation to help kids like me have a fighting chance.”
London founded 2MarrowsKids, an organization that raises funds and awareness for FA. She said the “2” refers to giving kids with FA the chance to live another day.
On July 29, 2MarrowsKids held its first major event, a golf tournament, in collaboration with Hold My Hand for Life, another group that raises funds and awareness for FA and bone marrow donation. The inaugural event attracted more than 50 golfers and raised about $10,000.
Sometime in the coming academic year, London also hopes to partner with the University of Lynchburg’s Master of Science in Athletic Training program on a bone marrow drive.
“I’m just looking forward to getting this started,” London said, just prior to the golf tournament. “I want to tell my story and help other families who are going through what I was going through.”
Asked if she would have traded places with a “healthy kid” if she could have, London said she wouldn’t have changed anything. “I think I’m a very strong-minded person,” she said. “I think I was a lot stronger than I anticipated, especially at a young age. I’ve always been a strong one in my family.
“I definitely would not change a thing. Everything I went through made me a stronger person and changed my outlook in life. It gives me motivation.”