2-year-old gets to go home following bone marrow transplant & chemo

Posted at 11:23 PM, Sep 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-19 23:24:03-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — At 2 years old, Bryar Johnston has battled cancer twice and finally is in remission once again.

Bryar was first diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a type of blood cancer, when he was 6 months old. He received chemotherapy and treatment and went into remission. In May 2019, he relapsed a second time.

"That is a situation where it is quite clear now that you need a bone marrow transplant to give them the best chance of a cure," said Dr. Duffner, who has been a part of the team treating Bryar.

He was matched to an international donor in the summer and received a transplant in August.

"We call him 'Bryar Bear' because he is ferocious, and he is a fighter," said Cortney Johnston, Bryar's mom. "He is a hurricane. He just runs and runs and runs and doesn't stop."

Bryar only slowed down a few days after his transplant but stayed in isolation due to his compromised immune system.

"It's hard," said Johnston. "You think about a 2-year-old at home who wants to run and play and maybe go outside for a little bit. A change of scenery sometimes is all they need to get away from that tantrum that they're about to have. Here, I can't just say, 'let's go outside.'"

On Friday, the family is finally expected to leave the hospital after an over month-long journey there. Their departure comes towards the end of September, which is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Bryar and his family will first go to a hospital house in Grand Rapids. If that goes well, Bryar will be able to go home in about four weeks.

If you'd like to follow the family's journey more, you can follow their Facebook page.