Tag Archives: apherisis

WANTED – Stem Cells for Stacy

I copied and pasted this information about Stacy from the MinnesotaMyeloma blog from Karen’s blog (sigh, I’m getting so lazy).  Please feel free to copy this to your own blog, Facebook page, etc. Stacy is in her 30s with two little girls, close to WCK’s age (Karen’s really funny daughter and just in case you come here for my craftiness or shining wit – leave that sh and w where they are, thank you – WCK stands for World’s Cutest Kid).

Stacy Needs Your Stem Cells

Stacy is a young Minnesota mother with myeloma. She has tried just about every treatment, including an autologous transplant, but her aggressive myeloma will not relent. She has a Caring Bridge site.Stacy’s doctors want to do an allogeneic transplant, hoping that stem cells from another person, a donor, will give her a brand new immune system which will view her myeloma cells as invaders and will destroy them. This is called the “graft versus myeloma effect” and can sometimes provide a long-term remission.

So far, though, the doctors have found no matching donor.

The web site www.marrow.org* gives guidance for registering, and information about the actual process of donating stem cells.

From the web site, some of the donor requirements:

  • Age 18 to 60.
  • Good health, including NO CANCER.
We who have myeloma are not eligible, but many of our caregivers, relatives, and friends may be.According to the web site, the registration procedure involves a swab of cheek cells, to be done at home. Once registered, a person could be “matched” to anyone with a need. If an opportunity to donate is presented, a person can accept or decline it.

*In the UK the equivalent service is The British Bone Marrow Registry which is a division of NHS Blood and Transplant and which forms part of the International Donor Register.  There is also Anthony Nolan – I tell you this because I am always completely honest with you and therefore I feel the need to say that if you register with the NHS they require you to be a blood donor too (you can do it as a one off) and they take a blood sample for the register at the time of donating – a kind of two for one deal!  
Having donated my own stem cells (to myself) I can confirm that the procedure is generally untraumatic (I managed to spill a cup of  cool tea over my lap) and relatively painless.  Stem cell collection from the blood is just the same as giving blood except the stem cells are extracted and then you get the blood back after it’s had a short trip through a machine – not long enough for it to send you a postcard, bring you a holiday gift or even buy a ‘Kiss me quick’ hat.