ROCHESTER, Minn. — Every 4 minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer like leukemia, and for many, a bone marrow transplant is their only hope according Be The Match. One of those people is from right here in our area.
Lacey McClain has hobbies like most 12-year-old girls.
“Riding bike and going swimming,” Lacey said.
Unlike most 12-year-old girls, she is battling T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, the least common type of leukemia in adults.
The treatment following her late October diagnosis has been keeping her from those hobbies and in the hospital.
“She’s been undergoing chemotherapy and all that since that time,” said Lacey’s mother Chrissie Jurrens.
Lacey should have been in remission after that first week of treatment, but it was more than two months later when that happened.
“It’s been a roller coaster, there’s good days, there’s bad days, up and down. Very busy trying to juggle everyday life,” Jurrens said.
So Lacey is waiting for a bone marrow donor. Typically doctors want them to come from an immediate family member, but no one in her family matched, so it is off to the database.
“It’s important that we bring all of these donors into the registry because it improves the chances to find potential donors for any patient of any ethnic background,” said Dr. Vilmarie Rodriguez, with Mayo’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology unit.
So Mayo is holding bone marrow drives all week for their employees next week, plus a public one on Tuesday. Despite what you may believe, they are painless.
“The only thing that is needed at the time is an oral swab to obtain DNA and analyze the DNA and put it in the registry,” Rogriguez said.
Right now, Lacey and her family are just waiting for the right person to take that test.
“It’s a matter of month-to-month going through a cycle of chemotherapy up until we have a bone marrow donor,” Jurrens said.
Lacey’s family and friends are hosting two bone marrow drives. One is Friday night at the Oronoco Fire Department from 4-8 p.m. The other takes place Saturday at the same place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Mayo Clinic will be holding a public drive Tuesday, February 11 at the University of Minnesota Rochester Campus. It is taking place in room 302 from 12-7 p.m.