Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ways You Can Help

Several people have asked what they can do to help after hearing the news that Tyler is fighting a new stage of Leukemia. Here are a few things that occurred to me:

1. Give us a call. We would love to knkow that you are thinking about us and hear what is happening in your lives. Sometimes we want to pretend that things are normal, so forgive us if we change the subject to something other than Tyler's health. With that in mind, I don't mind talking about how he is doing, so if you have questions please feel free to ask.

2. Pray for his health. It means a lot to know that people are out there thinking of us and praying for his recovery, his treatment, etc. There is so little that we can do and so much that God can do on our behalf.

3. Make an appointment to donate platelets or blood. If you live in the Puget Sound Area, you can contact the Puget Sound Blood Center to find out where they are having drives. Donating blood takes about 15-30 minutes and donating platelets takes about 2 hours. Tyler got his first platelet transfusion today and we expect several more, so it would be wonderful if we could fill up the blood banks.

4. Consider registering for the National Marrow Donor Program to see if you are a match for anyone out there needing a transplant. Information about the Puget Sound Blood Center's upcoming drives can be found here. You must be between 18 and 60 and in good health to join the registry and if contacted as a match, it is essential that your respond quickly on whether or not you are able to help the patient in need. If you do not meet the guidelines to register as a donor, they say you can help but donating funds to help cover the registration fee for another person. It costs about $52 to complete the tissue typing, so there is some cost involved for the potential donor too. It is likely that Tyler will need a stem cell transplant in the next several months so we are looking to be prepared for that. Full siblings are the best likelihood for a tissue and marrow match, so they will start the testing with Tyler's brother. If he is not a match, they will be looking in the NMDP database for an unrelated matched donor.

To relieve any fears out there, the research I have done over the past few days seem to indicate that more transplants these days are Stem Cell transplants from the donor's peripheral blood (probably in a process similar to donating blood), and it does not necessarily involve taking any marrow from the donor. You can read a fact sheet here if you want to know more.

The need for persons of minority to join the database is critical, as most of the registrants at this point are caucasion. While Tyler won't match with a registrant from a minority group (ethnicity is one of the matching criteria), you can help us to spread the word and maybe we can help someone else in Tyler's shoes.

If Tyler's brother is not a match, expect to see us posting our call for friends and family to join the NMDP and share the word with as many people as we can at that point. Nothing needs to be done at this point, unless you are moved to register with the thought of helping anyone. I'll continue to learn more over the next few months and share the information with you.

Thanks so much for everything!


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