Jamie Taylor is on a mission, a mission that is not only personal, but one that will hopefully effect the lives of others through her dedication to help her sister’s battle with Leukemia.
A few months ago Jamie’s life came to a screeching halt, as she found out her younger sister had Chronic Myleoid Leukemia. It wasn’t easy for Jamie and her family to get the news, as it wouldn’t be for anyone who had a loved one diagnosed with such a disease.
Traci Thomas-Whetstones, just married for three months, a fun loving, horse riding country girl from Logan County, started feeling tired and running a constant fever. She went to the doctor to check on what she thought was a tick bite, when she got the news of her leukemia. Traci was diagnosed the last week of August with Chronic Myleoid Leukemia. It was caught in the early stages where they think it can be treated with medicines, but she may eventually need a marrow transplant and that is where her sister Jamie comes in.
Jamie has made it her mission to find out as much information as she can about bone marrow transplants. She has even become an ambassador, educating the public on donation.
One of the first things Jamie did when she found out about her sister was to get tested to see if she were a match to donate to her sister, unfortunately she was not. Most people do not realize that out of the 10 plus million people in the Be the Match Registry, it can still be extremely hard for a patient to find a matching donor. This is one of the reasons Jamie has decided to make it her mission to help her sister and others by trying to educate people on the importance of donating bone marrow.
“If I’m not going to be a match, I want to find one for my sister and help others find their matches as well,” said Jamie. “If this is the only thing I can do for her, I will,” she added.
Because it is so hard to find matches, time is of the essence. There are thousands of people waiting for a match and all you have to do is want to help. The process is not what most people realize. It’s actually very simple. All you have to do is subject yourself to a mouth swab of your cheeks. Then you will be placed on the registry and if a match is found, you will be contacted.
A Join the Marrow Registry event has been scheduled Sunday, Oct. 7 from 1-4 p.m. on the Russellville Square. If you are interested in joining the registry, please come out and be swabbed. If you can not make that event, you can go to to BeTheMatch.org and order a kit that will be sent to your home.
For many patients, like Traci, a marrow transplant offers their best- or only- hope for a cure. Just think, if it were someone you loved and they needed a marrow transplant, you would hope there would be a match out there waiting and that only comes from loving and caring donors which want to help save someone’s life.
Every year, more than 10,000 patients in the U.S. are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases such as leukemia or lymphoma, and their best or only hope of a cure is a transplant from an unrelated adult donor or umbilical cord blood unit.
Most patients (about 70 percent) in need of a transplant do not have a matching donor in their family. They depend on the Be The Match Registry, operated by the National Marrow Donor program (NMDP), to find a match.
In 2010, nearly 4 out of 10 patients in the U.S. received the unrelated transplant they needed. Barriers to transplant include lack of access to health care, no or limited insurance coverage, lack of timely referral for transplant, decline in health status, and inability to find a matched donor or cord blood unit.
A marrow or cord transplant replaces a patient’s unhealthy blood-forming cells with healthy ones.
The process of donating bone marrow is also not as evasive as people think. Adults may be asked to donate one of two ways. About 76 percent of the time, a patient’s doctor requests a peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation, a non-surgical, outpatient procedure similar to donating platelets or plasma. About 24 percent of the time, a patient’s doctor requests marrow, a surgical, outpatient procedure that takes place in a hospital. General or regional anesthesia is always used. And either of these processes are free to the donor, says Jamie.
Jamie says that the main goal is to find a donor for her sister, but she also wants to get the word out because she now knows how it feels to have a loved one looking for a match and she wants to make the public aware that they can actually save someone’s life by donating.
Both Jamie and Traci are graduates of Logan County High School. They are the daughters of Gary and Janeen Thomas.
If you would like more information about the marrow transplant program, please visit BeTheMatch.org or contact Jamie at 270-221-5724 or email@example.com.
Make a difference in someone’s life, be a donor.