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Identical or not, Younger twins a perfect match for transplant

5/22/2013

By JUDY SHERARD

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

ELLIS -- Donnie Younger Jr. and his twin brother, Bobby, just weren't sure if they were identical twins.

When they were born more than 40 years ago, one doctor said they were, and another said they weren't.

It never mattered until last summer when Donnie was diagnosed with aplastic anemia and needed a bone marrow transplant.

Test results proved they are identical, and the rare transplant between identical twins was made July 26.

Donnie Younger isn't sure how long he had the disease before he woke up one morning with blood blisters in his mouth.

The next day they were all over his body. That's when he went to Trego County-Lemke Memorial Hospital.

The blood platelet count should be between 150,000 and 180,000, and his was 3,000, he said.

Younger was taken to Hays Medical Center and later transferred to the University of Kansas Medical Center.

"My bone marrow was non-existent," Younger said.

The remainder of his immune system was killed, and the transplant done four days later.

"It was painful for him," he said of his brother Bobby's procedure.

"Any time you can save someone's life, you forget the pain," Bobby Younger said.

Younger was in the hospital for 20 days and had to stay in Kansas City for more than two months.

He started back to work part-time at his automation and computer control systems business, but now works full-time.

"Doctors said odds go up after the first year, and (are) really good after the second," Younger said.

With an identical twin, Younger had a perfect match. Others aren't so lucky, and have to look elsewhere for a donor, such as the organization Be the Match.

"As soon as Donnie was on the mend, he talked about raising money to the organization known as Be the Match," said Tracy Augustine, one of Donnie's friends.

Participants of Be the Match are swabbed and put on a donor list.

"If someone needs a transplant, it speeds the process," Donnie Younger said.

The ideal age for donors is 18 to 40. Younger said he and many of his friends are a little older, but would like to help raise awareness of the organization.

A benefit dance for Be the Match in tribute to Younger will be from 8 p.m. to midnight Friday in Firestation Park with '80s music led by Eddie Light and his band. Light also is a classmate and friend of Donnie's, Augustine said.

Proceeds from the freewill donation to attend will go to Be the Match.