The Durkins Family: A Story of Strength and Survival

All three children in the Durkins family were diagnosed with a rare genetic form of MDS.
3:00 | 08/28/12

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Transcript for The Durkins Family: A Story of Strength and Survival
Robin, as robin gets ready to begin her treatment for mds, a week from today, we want to bring you a very powerful, very uplifting story of strength and survival in the face of this very serious illness. All three children in one family diagnosed with a rare genetic form of mds, all in their teen years. All overcoming it. Take a look. For the friends and family of the durkins of york, maine, christmas always got off to a merry start, when they're annual holiday card arrived in the mail. The durkins were a happy, growing family that loved sports. But loved ice hockey most of all. Two days, jason and chris, and their baby sister, lauren, who began playing at age 5. In fact. Their first big family crisis began at hockey tryouts for jason, the oldest. He was 18. His coach realized that jason wasn't keeping up. And something just didn't seem right. Reporter: A blood test only intensified the growing drama. They called my parents. And were like take jason to boston children's hospital now. Not tomorrow. Not tonight. Don't wait. Get him out of school. Take him right now. Reporter: He was diagnosed with mds. And it was far along. He needed a bone marrow transplant right away. Within a week, some good news His brother, chris, would be a bone marrow match. But then, a shock. One last blood test, doubled the family's crisis. We were devastated. To go from one, to two. Reporter: Chris was diagnosed with msd, as well. The durkin boys were now both in need of bone marrow transplants. It was like, why? Why is this happening? Why is this happening to this poor family? Reporter: The boys had back-to-back transplants. But each had major complications. Because they were children, they needed to be quarantined for a full year. But the family's drama wasn't over. After two years, watching her brothers climb back, lauren was tested for mds and was negative. Until one day in 2009, when lauren herself was also diagnosed with the disorder. Here we go again. We were just heartbroken. I was in disbelief. There has to be a mistake. How are we going to get the family through this? Reporter: Lauren couldn't find a donor match. So, she had a blood core transplant of stem cells that saved her life. But lauren's battle brought the family its darkest moment. A high fever and an infection that was out of control. The durkins prepared for the worst. She was nervous. And it was a difficult time. Thinking in the back of my head, I was afraid I may not make it. But I tried not to think that. They all lost hair. For the boys, it was one thing to lose their hair. For a girl, it's even worse. Reporter: But there's a special footnote to our story. The durkins are helping the national institutes of health. And scientists in boston learned more about mds, a gift borne from their struggle. There's a lot the durkin children have taught us about mds in families and mds, in general. Reporter: The durkins, with a timeless message of hope and courage for robin, as she prepares for her own bone marrow transplant. Robin, you are so strong and so great, that you're just going to do amazing. I want you to know that we're all here for you. And we're all rooting for you. Already beaten breast cancer. We know you will beat this, too. I know you were a basketball player. If you keep that strong, athlete mentality, you'll be fine going through this. And we're with you the entire way. Jason, chris, lauren, thank you. I didn't know they would have the messages at the end. I'm, too, part of a clinical trial to learn more. And they inspire me. Boy, do they look fantastic. We hear they were quarantined for a year. And aside from the fact, no child should have to go through that. I think a lot of people wonder what you, now, are going to face. Everyone's different. Everyone has been asking how long I will be away. My doctor will be here on thursday. If you have some questions by seeing these stories and the journeys we're going to share, share with us. Hit us on twitter or the facebook page. We'll try to answer as many of those questions. I'm an experiment of one. Everyone's different. Just had great examples. A lot of hope right there. Great to see that.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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