Girl gets lifesaving transplant on 10th birthday

Posted at 6:30 PM, Feb 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-23 18:31:05-05

CINCINNATI -- Earlier this month, Jennie Nieves said she packed up what she could fit in a U-Haul and moved from Cleveland so her daughter Daphne could get life-saving surgery at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

On Tuesday, Daphne finally got the long-awaited bone marrow transplant. Tuesday is also her tenth birthday.

When Nieves and her daughter first came to Cincinnati, they were turned away from their apartment due to the size of Daphne's dog, Sabrina.

Getting rid of Daphne's dogs – even just Sabrina - wasn't an option. Her mother said Daphne panics and she loves her dogs.

"Right now she doesn't go to school so she doesn't have friends … Those (dogs)  are her only friends right now so getting rid of her dogs would be like getting rid of her friends," Nieves said.

After word of her story spread, Nieves met the man who she called her "guardian angel," who is letting the mother, daughter and dogs stay in an apartment for free.

"I can’t thank him enough. What a wonderful man."

Soon after, Nieves learned that Cincinnati Children's Hospital found a perfect bone marrow match for her sick daughter. The donor was a 100 percent match with the same blood type.

The donor is a young military member, Nieves learned, and he refused to take any repayment from the family. He also donated to the hospital in Daphne's name, Nieves said.

"They told us we can meet him in two years," she said. "How do you thank someone for saving your child's life?"

If the procedure goes well, Daphne's cancer could be gone for good.

"All I really ask from anyone right now is prayers," Nieves said. "Yes, prayers work. And miracles work. And that's what we need right now."