Student Spotlight

Brandman student’s family faces health challenges with hope, community support

February 11, 2016 by Margo Myers
The Randle family

The Randle family at Craig Randle Sr.’s graduation from Brandman in 2014. From back are Aulaura, Craig Sr., Mamie and Deven. In front are Craig Jr., Isaiah, Sophia (in pink) and Tiesha.

Craig and Mamie Randle of Poulsbo, Washington, are counting the days until their 13-year-old son undergoes a bone marrow transplant. Craig Jr. suffers from excruciating chest and joint pain linked to sickle-cell anemia, a condition in which there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen throughout the body.

“Our son has gone from running on the football field to being pushed in a wheelchair,” said Mamie Randle. “Craig Jr. goes to school when he can but sometimes the pain is simply too much. Our son, however, is such a fighter.”

The bone marrow transplant is expected to relieve that pain, and while there is no cure for sickle-cell anemia, doctors have told the family there’s over a 90 percent chance of success with the transplant. It’s set for early May in Seattle, with the lengthy process to prepare for the transplant beginning in April. Amazingly, Craig Jr.’s 10-year-old sister, Sophia, is a sibling match for the bone marrow. “It’s incredibly rare to get a sibling match,” said Mamie. “It’s almost like they’re twins, and we are so blessed to have his sister do this.”

Recovery from the surgery will be lengthy. Mamie Randle and her son will stay in Seattle to be close to doctors for daily appointments for five months after the transplant. The couple’s other three children and their father will be at home in Poulsbo. “We know we’re facing quite a bit,” said Mamie.

In addition to the challenge of the transplant, the senior Randle, who retired from the Navy after a 20-year career, is a rigger at Naval Base Kitsap in Bangor. Plus, he’s currently earning two master’s degrees from Brandman University’s campus at Bangor; one in human resources and the other in organizational leadership.

“I hope to use my degrees to get a better paying job, and move into management,” he said. “I’ve been a blue-collar worker all my life, and I want to make a change for myself, and be a better provider for my family.”

In fact, Mamie Randle, who’s a director for Knowledge Universe Champions Brand, credits her bachelor’s degree from Brandman in organizational leadership with helping her manage the family’s current challenge. “With a background in psychology, my knowledge gained about emotional intelligence has really helped me cope with this situation,” said Mamie. “I’ve used every bit of my training, and it all plays a part to help me respond in the right way.”

Having the support of the Poulsbo community is also helping the family navigate their way through this challenging time. Craig Jr. is a seventh-grader at Poulsbo Middle School, where he was recently named Student of the Month. People at the middle school, along with Emmanuel Church and a community of caring friends have started a GoFundMe campaign to help the family with the thousands of dollars in added expenses that aren’t covered by insurance.

“The school has been incredibly supportive,” said Mamie. “It’s really been a miracle. Every day, God gives us little signs that we’re not in this alone.”

If others would like to donate to the GoFundMe campaign, the page can be found by following this link:

This story is also featured on the Northwest Navy Life website.

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