ANCHORAGE -

An Anchorage mother is pleading for help on behalf of her 5-year-old son. Nicholas Hinkins was diagnosed with sickle-cell anemia at birth -- and while a bone-marrow transplant is paid for, $50,000 in recovery costs aren’t.

A local church is helping the boy’s mother, Michelle Hinkins, raise that money so the surgery can go ahead.

Nick Hinkins loves to play with his toys -- especially his fire station. He also loves to run.

“Normally he's a fun, loving, little boy who is happy-go-lucky,” Michelle Hinkins said. “He likes to -- he loves to give you hugs and kisses.”

On a Friday afternoon, though, he's moving a little slow.

“Today, right now, he's having one of his bad days,” Michelle Hinkins said. “He's not feeling that well; he's not up to it.”

That's because Nick has sickle-cell anemia, a disease that causes frequent pain and issues with his spleen, liver, and blood.

“He has to go to the hospital to get blood transfusions, because his body can't make enough blood to survive,” Michelle Hinkins said.

Nick's mother says the only possible way to save this young boy's life is to have a bone marrow transplant. The family already has a donor -- his twin brother Chris.

“I guess probably when he gets older, he'll always throw it up in his brothers face: ‘You know, I saved your life, right? So you owe me,’” Michelle Hinkins said.

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta has agreed to perform the procedure for free -- but it's the other costs that this single mother of six will have trouble with. Hinkins says after Nick has the transplant, he will need a full year of recovery, six months of it in isolation.

“They told us, ‘Once you can dedicate a full year of your life to being able to give, provide care to him during the bone marrow transplant process, then come on back,’” Michelle Hinkins said.

Michelle is with the Alaska National Guard and money is tight. She says she has no choice but to ask the community for help.

“The good thing about the fundraiser is it's saving a little boy’s life,” she said. “I know any mother out there that has a child with a disease would do anything and everything that they could do to save his life, so that's what I'm doing -- I'm doing anything and everything to save his life.”

The Calvary Community Church at 3012 Boniface Pkwy. is selling barbecue to help raise funds for Nick Hinkins Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Orders can be called or texted to Pastor Glenn Ratcliff at 301-4296 or 764-7600; the menu includes chicken plates for $12, barbecued ribs for $15, a combo platter for $18 and peach cobbler desserts at $5.

Direct donations for Nick Hinkins are being taken at the family’s fundraising website.