Brooklyn the 'bubble baby': Pensacola toddler to undergo thymus transplant


    (Source: WEAR-TV)

    A Pensacola family is learning to navigate life with their two-year-old, who is unlike any other in the United States.

    Brooklyn jones is an intelligent toddler. She knows sign language, her colors, and she may be the only toddler who loves to clean up after herself.

    However, there is something else that sets Brooklyn aside from others.

    "She's the bubble baby," says her mother, Chelsea.

    Brooklyn has complete DiGeorge syndrome. The rare condition, affecting only a handful of babies born each year, means she doesn't have a thymus.

    "The thymus is what produces T-cells," said Chelsea. "So, without the thymus, she has no immune system."

    For Brooklyn, that translates to living a very isolated life. Anyone who visits needs to scrub up. A gown, gloves and a mask are the norm.

    "Close, close family, they come around, but it's very few and far between," said Chelsea. "She likes seeing things on TV, and like being on Facebook, or something to where she can kind of interact. She loves video chatting to people! We try to give her that sense of - hey, there is more people than mom and dad and nurse."

    Brooklyn's nurse, Peg helps with her feeding tube, tracheostomy tube, and the many machines keeping her breathing while she sleeps.

    DiGeorge syndrome can be fatal, but there is hope on the horizon for Brooklyn. Currently, there's an experimental thymus transplant surgery. It's only available to qualifying candidates. This week, Brooklyn's parents got word they'd been accepted.

    Chelsea says she has lost count of the amount of surgeries Brooklyn has undergone. She hopes this next one will be the last for her bubble baby.

    "I want her to be able to go out in public, and have friends, live a typical lifestyle," said Chelsea. "I just want to pop that bubble and let her out! That's all I want for her!"

    Brooklyn's surgery and recovery expenses are expected to cost upward of $10,000 out of pocket.

    You can follow her journey here

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