Peabody family needs stem cell donor to save 2-year-old daughter

PEABODY, Mass. — Gigi D’Amore is like most 2-year-olds and loves coloring and playing with her toys.

“We try to keep things as normal as we can for her and want her to have fun and know that she’s loved every day,” said Angela D’Amore, Gigi’s mother.

Gigi was diagnosed in the fall with an extremely rare condition called Mendelian Susceptibility, or MSMD. It’s an immunodeficiency syndrome. That means Gigi develops infections more frequently and more severely for longer periods. She is one of only a handful of people alive with this condition.

“From what they’ve told us, our daughter makes 36 cases in the world. She’s number 36,” said Vittorio D’Amore, Gigi’s father.

Right now, Gigi is on medicine, but her only cure is a blood stem cell transplant. Her family is working with Be The Match, a national stem cell bone marrow registry program in hopes of finding Gigi’s genetic twin.

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“We call it the world’s greatest waiting list because you never know when someone needs you, so Gigi is looking for that someone right now. We know that person is out there,” said Ann Evans of Be The Match New England.

Finding that person will give Gigi a new lease on life.

“It’s all we think about, all that we pray about, that there’s a perfect match out there for her,” Angela D’Amore said.

Gigi’s family is not a match, nor is her extended family.

For those who are 18-to-44 years old and want to join the Be The Match registry, they can have a free cheek swab kit mailed to them by completing a five-minute registration here. You can also text SwabForGigi to 61474.

The family is also hosting a ‘Drive-Thru Swab Event’ for GiGi on Saturday, March 20 from 1-3 p.m. at the Saugus Family YMCA on 298 Main Street, Saugus, MA. Five-minute registrations and a cheek swab will be completed from your car.