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Missouri mom advocates for life saving legislation after losing two sons

<i>KMOV</i><br/>A Chesterfield woman is flying to Washington DC on Sunday with plans to advocate for life-changing legislation on Capital Hill next week.
KMOV
A Chesterfield woman is flying to Washington DC on Sunday with plans to advocate for life-changing legislation on Capital Hill next week.

By Shoshana Stahl

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    CHESTERFIELD, Missouri (KMOV) — A Chesterfield woman is flying to Washington DC on Sunday with plans to advocate for life-changing legislation on Capitol Hill next week.

Kristin Akin is turning her loss into a way to save more lives in the future.

“Losing both of my kids is hands down the most horrible thing and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone,” Akin says.

Akin has made it part of her life’s mission to advocate for bone marrow donation.

14 years ago Akin’s two-and-a-half-year-old son, Andrew, died of complications from a rare immune deficiency disease called Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH).

Akin found out she was a carrier of HLH and her older son Matthew was tested for it.

Eight months after Andrew died, five-and-a-half-year-old Matthew also died after having complications.

While Andrew and Matthew were sick, Akin says bone marrow donation was their only hope, with each of her sons receiving transplants.

“I’m indebted to those people because, as anyone knows who has ever lost someone they love, every minute, every hour that you get extra with that person is invaluable,” Akin says. “You cannot put a price on it.”

Akin is dedicating her life to advocating for bone marrow donors and recipients.

On Tuesday, she will be in Washington DC to speak to lawmakers about the Life Saving Leave Act, which would update the Family and Medical Leave Act. The act would give stem cell and bone marrow donors 40 hours of non-consecutive time off work.

“Essentially, when a donor gets a call that they’re a potential match, they’re not guaranteed their job depending on where they work and who they work for,” Akin says. “We’re asking that now be included.”

Finding a match can be extremely challenging.

Akin says oftentimes donors aren’t able to help when there is a match because of their job.

That’s what the Life Saving Leave Act is hoping to change.

“I would hate to think that someone didn’t get a second chance at life because somebody couldn’t get off of work,” Akin says.

While her life has been filled with grief, Akin says it’s also been full of gratitude.

“I was blessed with two children through adoption who have saved my life and given me a chance to be a mom again,” Akin says. “I try to honor Matthew and Andrew while currently raising two young boys as well and showing them the importance of giving back and helping.”

Akin is encouraging others to fight for what they believe in.

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