Blood Lines

Fatherhood, faith and love
in the time of stem cells

by Paul McLean

How does an experience you wouldn’t wish on anyone become one you wouldn’t trade for anything?
Paul McLean, newly enraptured with his ancestry, was living a dream with his wife and young daughter, discovering the islands and highlands of Scotland. But while McLean walked in wonder over ancestral grounds, his daughter’s immune system was disappearing. She was abandoned by her blood line, the victim of a mysterious and life-threatening disease incurable only decades before but now requiring the sacrifice of a father’s safe assumptions and the new blood line of a stranger.
In the author’s lifetime, medical science has transformed the nature of hope and possibility, putting in the hands of doctors and nurses the tools of the miraculous. McLean would come to know this intimately and searingly.
A former sports writer, Paul McLean often heard the athlete’s hopeful refrain: “There’s always tomorrow.” It’s not true, though. There isn’t always tomorrow. But within the unyielding and harsh truth of mortality exists astonishment and wonder. You may find, in Blood Lines, a way to live in the moment and be grateful for today.

Blood Lines written by Paul McLean, should be required reading for medical care givers as well as for parents whose child is diagnosed with a life threatening, albeit potentially curable, illness.”
Terry B Strom, MD, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School-Co-Director, The Transplant Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center


“The story of a father’s courage, a daughter’s strength and a very personal triumph for medical research.”
P. Michael Conn, scientist and co-author of The Animal Research War

“Paul McLean bravely takes us into every parent’s nightmare—a healthy child, a mysterious disease, a young life suddenly at risk—and shows us how to come through it. Blood Lines will give comfort and answers to anyone who finds themselves in need of hope in the midst of chaos and tragedy. This is a book of miracles: about how a family, community, and medicine collaborated on curing a child — told by a father who lived it.”
Susan Senator, author, Making Peace With Autism, The Autism Mom’s Survival Guide


“When a parent’s worst nightmare occurs, the desperate illness and possible death of their child, most of us have no words to describe it. As a writer Paul McLean tells his journey with honesty, an open heart, and his idiosyncratic humor. This is not a book to be read in public or just before going to bed. I wept, I laughed, I nodded in recognition, and I wept some more.” 
Rev. Dr. Jim Sherblom, First Parish in Brookline, Massachusetts