This year our climb will be virtual but in past years each floor had photos of people that are winning their battles and those that we've lost "In Memory Of" or "In Honor Of".
I could have easily been a memory, the odds were against me, but with support from orgs like LLS I was able to participate in a clinical trial that might have helped save my life.
This year I thought I would share some things you may or may not know about my treatment that are pretty cool and speak to what research has and can accomplish for those in need.
- I have a different blood type, O- to AB+ the same as my donor. This means that my organs have my original DNA, and all my new cells have my donor's DNA.
- Be the Match, the group that coordinates bone marrow transplants, couldn't find me a donor out of some 20+ million donors in their registry. As an aside please consider being a donor https://bethematch.org/
- I required a cord blood transplant instead, the closest match to my DNA. Yep, umbilical cord cells donated 12 years prior in France, cryogenically frozen and flown to me at UW were used to replace my bone marrow.
- Right after my transplant I participated in a clinical study that introduced engineered cells to help fight infections while I didn't have an immune system. This study was financed in part by the LLS organization through Fred Hutch Cancer Research.
What is the Big Climb?
The Big Climb is a stairclimb up the Columbia Center - the tallest skyscraper in downtown Seattle. There are 69 floors of stairs, 1311 steps, and 788 feet of vertical elevation. Although it will be challenging, it pales in comparison to what blood cancer patients go through. All proceeds benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Who is The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society?
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services. The mission of LLS is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.
Every day, more than 347 LLS sponsored researchers come closer to the goal of finding a cure for leukemia and related blood cancers. Locally, LLS funds 10 researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington Medical Center. Your support and commitment to the mission of LLS enables us to continue this important work of saving lives and aids us in our ability to reach patients in our community.
Thank you for your time and I hope that you will consider donating to this cause!
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