St. Petersburg, Florida - At first glance, Recolon Jump, a curious four-year-old atAll Children's Hospital, may seem to have little in common with the late Congressman Bill Young. But Recolon is living Young's legacy-living because of it.
Born with a serious blood disorder, two years ago Recolon received a life-changing cord blood transplant and the donor was located through a registry that Young worked to create.
"He's going to be able to be a normal little kid," says Vanessa Somma of her son's future. "Able to get out there and play and run around." And Recolon seems to agree, adding "zoom, zoom" sounds.
And more than 25 years ago, it was another child that spurred Young into action. Brandy Bly was at the hospital in need of a bone marrow transplant. In a video produced by All Children's last year, Young talked about the 11-year-old.
"Brandy had a form of leukemia and she didn't make it," said Young.
At the time, doctors told Young that a registry to help match volunteer bone marrow donors and patients could save lives and for Young, that's all it took.
"I decided to do the best I could to create a registry," said Young in the video.
Since then the National Marrow Donor Program has enabled more than 55,000 marrow and cord blood transplants, and more than 10 million potential donors have been added to the national registry.
To find out how you can register click here.
And while the smiles of children mark Young's contributions at All Children's, his help also landed high on the rooftop. The Congressman secured grants to make sure the helipad there was strong enough to support military choppers. It's a need that surfaced when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.
"Congressman Young did an amazing world of good and saved undoubtedly many, many lives," said All Children's Senior VP Bill Horton.
On Wednesday during his checkup, Recolon told this reporter he likes his visits to All Children's.
"Because I need nurses and doctors to take care of me," said the boy with a mop of curly black hair. But thanks to Young's efforts and a transplant- perhaps not for long.