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Kidsday: Who's behind the blue mask?

Have you ever seen someone with a blue mask or no hair? Have you ever wondered why? I'm like that; I wore a blue mask and now have short hair (I did lose all my hair at one point). I am like this because I have Fanconi anemia, a blood disorder that lowers my ability to make blood cells and fight infections.

I wore a blue mask not because I have Fanconi anemia but because I had a bone-marrow transplant. A bone-marrow transplant is when a donor gives bone marrow to the hospital by minor surgery, then by IV the bone marrow is put in my body. My body allows the new marrow to take control because I've had chemo medicine and radiation to kill off my own blood cells. Because of my own cells dying and my donor cells just coming in, I'm vulnerable to infections.

So I wore a mask and take a lot of medicine so I don't get sick. My mask was a little annoying and can get in the way, plus after a while it starts to smell.

I had my bone-marrow transplant in a Minnesota hospital about a year ago, and I had to live in isolation for seven weeks. After a while, I started getting my strength back and started taking short walks. I am getting stronger every day. I go to school four days a week, and I no longer have to wear the mask (hooray!). If I could, I would go to school every day so I wouldn't miss out on all the fun and work. If things go well, in two years I should be just like every other kid.

I do have fun. I still have play dates. I just have to be careful. So now when you see someone with short hair or a blue mask, you don't have to wonder why. Instead, just say, "Hi!"

Our spirited Olympics

Go Altius! At our school, we have the Olympics. Three teams compete for the most spirit.

We interviewed 130 kids at our school and they told us what their favorite events were in the Stratford Olympics. Most kids said that their favorite thing was the tug-of-war. We have to agree that is our favorite thing, too. We like it because of all of the participation. Even the teachers do it. Also, we like the look on every girl and boy doing the tug-of-war, putting so much effort into it. We also like all of the cheering that goes on in the sidelines.

The three teams are Altius, Fortius and Citius. Altius means that you are fast, Fortius means you are strong, Citius means you are tall.

Other Olympic events include jump-rope, skip-its, the 50-yard dash and the 600-yard run. Everyone loves the Olympics. They are a great way to bring our school together.

--Kidsday Reporters Meghan Dealy and Liana McDonnell

CLASS OF THE WEEK: Laura Connolly's fifth-grade class, STRATFORD AVENUE SCHOOL, Garden City

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