Health Team

Bone Marrow Drive Could Find Lifesaver for Leukemia Patients

Posted March 16, 2007

— Although leukemia strikes about 10 times as many adults as children, the disease is the leading cause of death for children under age 15.

The last hope for leukemia patients is a bone marrow transplant. Their survival depends on more people stepping up to be donors.

In February 2003, Sherilyn Adams began a long fight with a rare form of leukemia called acute myologenous leukemia, or AML. Since then, she's endured blood and platelet transfusions, chemotherapy and seven months at Duke University Hospital.

Two years ago, Sherilyn got a bone marrow transplant and felt strong enough to go back to school last fall.

"One week before she went to school, her oldest sister was diagnosed with the same kind of leukemia," said Laura Adams, mother of both girls.

Veronica Adams, 20, recently finished chemotherapy. AML is not known to be a hereditary disease.

Sherilyn, now 15, has relapsed, so she's looking for another bone marrow donor. It might end up being the Baptist pastor in Texas who helped her before.

"Sherilyn might not be here to today. He's given us two years, and he may give us two more years. We don't know," Laura Adams said.

The Adamses know that Veronica might need a bone marrow donor in the future as well. So, friends and family organized a bone marrow drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Millbrook High School, 2201 Spring Forest Road in Raleigh.

The drive could benefit many people suffering from leukemia, not just Sherilyn and Veronica.

"Everyone who comes that day is added to the registry and will be available to match anyone possible," said Tiffany Drummond-Armstrong of the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.

A little paperwork and a cotton swab saliva sample from inside the cheek is all that's needed from a potential donor. Unless a sponsor is found, people who come to get on the registry are asked to pay a $25 fee to pay for the processing of each sample.

"If there's not a donor out there willing to give his bone marrow, these kids will be on hospice," Laura Adams said, referring to a program that helps terminal patients and their families prepare for death.

But as long as more people join the registry, the Adamses have hope.


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  • 2boys Mar 20, 2007

    It should not cost anything to give something lifesaving to someone. You are already giving of yourself.

  • St Ives Mar 20, 2007

    Yes drh it is a shame, a few years ago it cost $50. At the time I was going to do it I just did not have $50. Crazy huh

  • drh524 Mar 20, 2007

    It's rediculous to tell people who offer to donate bone marrow that they have to pay for the privilege. Using that logic, the Red Cross will soon charge people to donate blood.

    I had decided to find somewhere I could be registered until I read that.

  • St Ives Mar 20, 2007

    I know this is a wonderful thing to do. I do feel though the $25 prevents some from doing it. Anyway to make the process free to the people who register?

  • conservativemom Mar 17, 2007

    I think everyone who is able to spare the $25 should get on the registry. It is a very selfless act. I am on it myself.

  • rainy Mar 17, 2007

    My father had AML and had his bone marrow transplant in PA. He passed in 2000 however he was allowed about 6 to 7 more years after having it to live. I know what the parents are going through. May God Bless and my prayers are with you.