The family of a 6-year-old boy says they are feeling more hopeful than ever, after doctors were finally able to diagnose the child more than five years after his severe medical issues first began.
Cohen Bramlee was first hospitalized with mysterious symptoms, including high fevers and vomiting episodes that sent him into shock, when he was just four months old, his mother, Carrie Bramlee, told People.
When he was an infant, Cohen had to be placed on a central IV feeding line, enabling him to, as he calls it, eat "through his heart," which is how he has received nutrition for most of his young life.
After years of frequent bloodstream infections, countless days in the hospital and zero answers, Cohen's mother said she was offered a glimmer of promise by researchers at the Undiagnosed Diseases Network at Duke University, who, in tandem with Dr. Stella Davies of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, determined that a variance in an immune system gene was the root of the child's health issues.
Bramlee explained to People that her son's disease causes his immune system to over-respond to everything from food in his gastrointestinal tract to viruses and bacteria, taking a serious toll on his liver, gallbladder and pancreas.
Since the family received the life-changing diagnosis, Bramlee says she has found at least three other boys with similar symptoms who are now being examined for the same gene mutation as her son.
Cohen will now undergo chemotherapy to prepare him for a bone marrow transplant from his 16-year-old brother, Todd Christopher, in hopes that it may help mitigate his symptoms or even potentially cure his condition.
"It was the first time that we really had hope that this was going to have a cure," Bramlee told People. "He's been very sick and we came close to losing him several times, so now knowing that there is a chance for him to not only be healthier but be cured is unimaginable."
According to the Facebook Page "Super Cohen's Crusade," where Bramlee keeps supporters updated on her son's condition and adventures, Cohen will be admitted to the hospital on August 26 to begin preparations for his bone marrow transplant, which is tentatively scheduled for September 11.
Until then, the family is making their way through a "Pre-BMT Bucket List," which has so far included a fishing outing and a trip to Build-A-Bear.
"Our superhero might be medically fragile but make no mistake about it, he is a strong, brave, and an amazing little guy that brings so much joy to all who know him," Cohen's mother wrote on Facebook. "We are blessed to call him our son."