Dr. Edward Donates Stem Cells to Save His Brother

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Playing Veterinarian Dr. Arvid Edward Donates Stem Cells to Brother Battling Leukemia

Veterinarian Dr. Arvid Edward, star of Amazon’s “Pet Doctors of Atlanta,” is a frequent guest of The Doctors, commenting on pet dilemmas great and small. But off-camera, he’s been dealing with a family health crisis. Now Dr. Edward is here to tell his story.

“No matter how healthy you are, cancer doesn’t discriminate,” says Dr. Edward, “And it can affect anybody at any time.” His own brother Sylvan is a case in point – Sylvan exercised regularly, but noticed he was becoming more and more fatigued. When he almost fainted at work he visited a hospital and was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. “That was a shocker!” he says.

Sylvan’s best option was a stem-cell transplant, but his doctors weren’t able to find an appropriate match for him. The family decided to go with a donation from Dr. Edward – although the brothers were only a 6-out-of-10 match, it was hoped that a closely related donor would give better results. “Big brother to the rescue!” says Dr. Edward.

Watch: The Gift of Life Part 1

After a four-day series of injections to boost his stem-cell count, Dr. Edward makes the donation. “You’ve got to have faith because without it, you’ll fall,” he says. “It’s a gift,” says Sylvan, “I’m glad he was able to be there for me.”

On the day of the transplant, Dr. Edward is on hand. “The stem-cell transplantation procedure is quite simple,” explains Dr. Hugo Hernandez. “It’s like a blood transfusion. These cells will circulate around in his body and repopulate the bone marrow. The new immune system will actually come from his brother’s stem cells to help fight the cancer in his body.”

Now Dr. Edward joins The Doctors. “What a heartwarming story, so see a brother’s love for his little brother!” ER Physician Dr. Travis Stork greets him. Dr. Edward explains that his brother only received his diagnosis a few months ago – it’s been a bit of whirlwind.

The transplant was a few weeks ago, and Dr. Fernandez tells The Doctors that “Sylvan’s right in the middle of the transplant process. He’s still suffering some of the side-effects from chemotherapy.” But he adds, “The good news is that it looks like he’s starting to recover. His white count has been going up over the last couple of days!”

Watch: The Gift of Life Part 2

The transplant means that Dr. Edward’s immune system will now be active for his brother – “He’s going to inherit all my allergies and everything else!” he explains. “If he ever robbed a bank and left a blood sample behind, they’d come and get me!”

Dr. Stork points out that this is a much less drastic process than donating a kidney – but by signing up for the donor registry, you can still save a life. “All you had do was donate your blood, right?” asks Plastic Surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon. “That was it,” confirms Dr. Edward. “I think that’s what scares a lot of people from getting on the registry, because they think you have to go into your bone marrow and that sounds painful.”

Dr. Edward will be working with Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa to help establish a donor registry. No matter where you live, there may be an opportunity for you to be a true life-saver.

Update: Dr. Edward tells The Doctors, “My brother is doing very well....his doctor told him that he is now in full remission! We still have a ways to go before he is considered healed, but he is on the right track!”