Young boy battles rare disease

HOUSTON For little Marquies Brooks King, it's nothing new. It's old hat. This 12-year-old basketball fanatic has had more blood transfusions in the past year than he can remember.

"Man, a lot. I don't know," said Marquies. "Maybe over a hundred probably."

Marquies has diamond blackfan anemia. It's an extremely rare blood condition that occurs at birth.

"Didn't know what it was," said Major King, Marquies' father. "They just said it's between sickle cell anemia and leukemia. It's in the middle."

It's characterized by a failure of the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. It's forced Marquies to receive blood transfusions since birth.

"His first one was when he was two weeks old," said Major. "And then after he turned a month old, he started coming here."

And coming here, and coming here. By his dad's count, his son has had an astounding number of transfusions during his 12 short years of life.

"Probably 1500," said Major.

Almost all of them have been done at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, a place the Kings say has made a difficult ordeal more bearable.

"For 12 years, they've been close to us," said Major. "Sometimes the nurses come see him play basketball, come to his birthday parties. They're very helpful."

"I know everybody," said Marquies. "They've been here since I was little."

With a son who requires new blood every three weeks, any shortages in the supply is cause for concern.

"Sometimes there's a shortage and when we're coming into the hospital, they have these little signs telling us that the blood is low and of course, we start worrying," said Kycia King, Marquies' mother.

And it's why blood donations are so critically important for patients like Marquies.

"I guess without it, I wouldn't be here," he said.

If you'd like to help Marquies and others like him, you can by taking part in the ABC-13 Blood Drive. It begins Thursday from 6am to 6pm here at the Channel 13 studios, 3310 Bissonnet. It runs through March 22 at several other locations. Click here for complete dates and locations.

Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.