Madison City School student to be featured on the ‘Today Show’

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 11:11 PM CST
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MADISON, Ala. (WAFF) - This week, we’re all taking stock of what we’re thankful for and reflecting on the blessings we’ve received. A Heritage Elementary School first-grader will be featured on the Today Show to highlight her medical journey.

One Madison family has a lot to be thankful for after the incredible gift that was given to now 7-year-old Maelin-Kate Carlson, who is about to receive national attention for being a walking miracle and meeting the woman who saved her life.

“Maelin is spunky, she is silly, smart, she is the happiest person I’ve ever met. She’s basically human glitter,” said her mother Megan Carlson.

Left: Megan Carlson Right: Maelin
Left: Megan Carlson Right: Maelin(WAFF)

Soon after being adopted from China in 2017, the Carlson family knew she needed surgery for hip dysplasia but her blood work turned up something else.

“We had very limited information on her, she had only been home for a few weeks. We don’t have any medical or family history on her and that doctor looked at her and looked at her labs and said I think she has Fanconi Anemia,” said Carlson.

Fanconi Anemia, a rare blood disorder that leads to bone marrow failure.

“A bone marrow transplant does not go on your blood type, it goes on your tissue type so we knew that we needed to find someone with Asian heritage. They make such a small portion of the registry, we did donor drives, we went on the news, we sent out flyers, we showed up anywhere a bunch of people would be at with our kits, please join the registry,” said Carlson.

It would take over a year’s worth of searching and praying to find a match.

“We went into St. Jude and they said, she really needs a transplant. There are only so many more band-aids that we can put on her, we’re going to check that registry one last time. They checked it the month before, there was nobody and they checked it and she had three potential donors,” said Carlson.

Landing on Grace, who was her perfect match, all the way in California who happens to be studying to become a doctor herself.

Tomorrow on the Today Show in the 8 o’clock hour, you’ll get to see Maelin meet her special lifesaver, Grace in person.

When it comes to highlighting important causes, Maelin is the perfect example. Heritage Elementary raises eight to ten thousand dollars to St. Jude Children’s Hospital each year.

The beauty of Adoption, the make-a-wish foundation, supporting St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the importance of becoming a bone marrow donor.

All of that will be highlighted in tomorrow’s story. For more information on becoming a bone marrow donor, visit

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