BELMONT, N.H. (CBS) — Giovanni Guglielmo is an active four-year-old with a big imagination and a feisty spirit. He’s come a long way since he was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder when he was six months old. Doctors told Giovanni’s parents that he had a 50 percent chance of survival, and only if he got a bone marrow transplant.

So Giovanni’s father got to work. Michael Guglielmo says, “They told me the chances of finding a match were one in 20,000 to one said, “No problem. I’ll put 20,000 on the registry.”

He made a sign with Giovanni’s picture, and started organizing bone marrow drives.

Giovanni’s big cheeks and blue eyes captured hearts around New England and the world. Thousands joined the bone marrow registry to help.

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reports.

Giovanni found a match, through core blood, and four years ago he had his transplant.

But that didn’t stop Giovanni’s parents. Michael says, “I went on a rampage, a marrow mission. It turned out to be my mission in life.”

Giovanni’s mother Christina says, “Finding a match it’s a thrill, more than winning a million dollars, giving them that chance to live they probably wouldn’t have had.”

Giovanni must still use a feeding tube, but his parents say his prognosis is good. They hope he will inspire others.

All it takes is a simple swab, and you can be on the bone marrow registry.

“He survived and from this came good. Triumph over adversity. That’s what it’s about,” said Michael.

Giovanni’s father is the Ambassador for the New England region of DKMS America. It’s the largest bone marrow registry in the world.


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