It's a global effort to save a life. A California mom is pleading with 1.3 billion people in China to help her find a bone marrow match that will save the life of her daughter Katie. Sherrie Cramer and husband, Michael, adopted their daughter from an orphanage in the province of Guangxi, China. Without a perfect donor match, the 16-year-old is expected to die.
The family has already been through a lot due to Katie’s illness. She was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) when she was 12, and has undergone chemotherapy as well as heart failure due to the treatment. After her cardiac problems were resolved, Katie seemed headed toward a normal life, but AML returned a few weeks ago.
At this point, time is critical. Doctors have said Katie has a window of five weeks that would be optimal for a bone marrow transplant. Doctors informed Katie’s mom that the best chance of finding the person with a tissue match is in Katie’s birth place and that no match has been found in the U.S.
Sherrie Cramer left the country on July 1 to appeal to her adopted daughter’s homeland, using donated miles. Chinese marrow donation professionals and the media responded immediately, running phone numbers and information on the bottom of TV screens. According to a family blog, “…the China Marrow Donor Program (CMDP), the Red Cross, the US National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), and the Asian American Donor Program (AADP) have agreed to expedite the processing of a handful of potential donors from China for Katie to Stanford’s Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in California for further analysis. These are being processed at Stanford as you read this."
According to the Global Times, Sherrie's trip to China was boosted by the story of Kailee Wells' mother, Linda, who came to China in 2005 and worked with CMDP and the Red Cross to find a bone marrow match for her Chinese born daughter who was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia in 2002, at age five. Linda traveled throughout the country and encouraged people to register, greatly increasing the number of people in the registry. That year a 28-year- old male doctor's bone marrow saved Kailee's life and she is now a happy and healthy teenager.
In the United States, the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) through the Be The Match Registry® has helped patients receive transplants for more than 20 years. Special testing determines whether a patient and a bone marrow donor or umbilical cord blood are a good match. The closer the match, the better for the patient. Because the markers used in matching are inherited, patients are more likely to match someone from their own race or ethnicity. Adding more donors and cord blood units from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds to the Be The Match Registry increases the likelihood that all patients will find the match they need.
People from the following communities, are especially encouraged to join the Be The Match Registry or donate umbilical cord blood:
• Black and African American
• American Indian and Alaska Native
• Asian, including South Asian
• Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander
• Hispanic and Latino
• Multiple race
Cramer Family blog: http://katiecramer.org/
News stories about the search for a donor:
How to Register to Be A Donor:
Be The Match: http://www.marrow.org/JOIN/index.html?src=tabjoin
Asian American Donor Program: http://www.aadp.org/pages/main.php?pageid=77&pagecategory=3