Archive for Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Area resident’s case highlights need for bone marrow donations

James Kelley and his wife, Shawn, Pomona, look over baby toys in the Lawrence Memorial Hospital gift shop before a visit to their doctor. The couple are expecting twin boys this month. James received a life-saving bone marrow transplant in 2002.

James Kelley and his wife, Shawn, Pomona, look over baby toys in the Lawrence Memorial Hospital gift shop before a visit to their doctor. The couple are expecting twin boys this month. James received a life-saving bone marrow transplant in 2002.

June 9, 2009

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Every day, 6,000 people are searching for a bone marrow donor.

“It’s a very great need,” said Dr. Joseph McGuirk, medical director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant program at Kansas University Cancer Center. The center does about 150 transplants each year.

“They can save a lot of lives,” he said.

About 7 million people are on the registry. Of those, 5 million people are Caucasian, so there is a great need for other ethnicities.

According to Catherine Claeys, spokeswoman for the National Marrow Donor program, the chances of someone finding at least one potential match range from 88 percent if you are Caucasian to 60 percent if you are black. If you are American Indian, the chances are about 82 percent.

Finding a potential match was a concern among doctors when James Kelley, of Pomona, was diagnosed with leukemia in August 2001. He has a mixed heritage of mainly American Indian and Irish. His sister wasn’t a match, so he turned to the registry.

“They said it was pretty severe and, basically, if I didn’t get a bone marrow transplant, it didn’t look good,” Kelley said.

He spent about 14 months in and out of the hospital, getting chemotherapy treatments and tests. Doctors at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle — where Kelley spent five months — were considering using a mismatched donor.

But, his call finally came, and on Oct. 3, 2002, he underwent a life-saving bone marrow transplant. A year later, he found out the bone marrow was from Margie St. Croix, of Montreal.

They became long-distance friends. In 2006, he invited her to his graduation from Haskell Indian Nations University. She showed up with her husband.

“We really hit it off and we’ve been close friends ever since,” he said.

Kelley, 42, and his wife, Shawn, are expecting twins this month, and they plan to use Croix as a middle name for one of them.

“I feel great now and have a very active life,” said Kelley, a shift coach at Del Monte Pet Foods in Lawrence.

“I will be real active when the twins arrive,” he said, laughing.

Comments

sustainabilitysister 5 years, 10 months ago

Yes you will Jamie!!! Congratulations Shawn and Jamie!!!

Ceallach 5 years, 10 months ago

Congratulations, Jamie-roo! I am so happy for you and Shawn. I love you always, and my prayers are with you and your family.

Gus 5 years, 10 months ago

I agreed to do the interview to draw attention to the need for minority donors. A little constructive criticism. Your article said:

"88 percent if you are Caucasian to 60 percent if you are black. If you are American Indian, the chances are about 82 percent."

The #'s in your article don't match up with these #’s off of the National Bone Marrow Registry web site. It makes sound like Native Americans are just 6% less likely to find a match then Caucasians. Not trying to be hyper critical, maybe a decimal got left out. But it does kind of take away from the purpose of getting minorities to donate.

http://www.psbc.org/programs/marrow.htm Why are More People of Color Needed? Because patients are most likely to find a compatible donor within their own racial and ethnic background, a diverse group of potential donors is needed. Only a small percentage of the 7 million volunteer donors who have joined the national Registry are people of color. Percentage of ethnic groups on the national Registry: • African American, 8% • Asian/Pacific Islander, 7% • Hispanic, 7% • Native American, 1% • Multi-Racial, 2% • Caucasian, 75%

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Real numbers by Gus 5 years, 10 months ago

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