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Bone marrow search continues for Troy resident

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published April 6, 2011

 Troy resident Taylor Kanas has been fighting negative anaplastic large cell lymphoma, an aggressive rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Troy resident Taylor Kanas has been fighting negative anaplastic large cell lymphoma, an aggressive rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

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TROY — Since October, Troy resident Taylor Kanas has been fighting negative anaplastic large cell lymphoma, an aggressive rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The Troy resident has bravely endured chemotherapy, an emergency biopsy, lost her hair, faced a relapse, and is in need of bone marrow transplant to save her life.

Her tissue type is so rare, a bone marrow match has not been found. Doctors don’t believe Kanas has time to wait to find a donor and have two potential umbilical cords that might be used for a transplant, scheduled for the week of April 11.

“The cords are readily accessible and are currently being tested for the cell concentration,” Kanas said in an email; at press time, she was awaiting a medical scan. “I am hoping that the aggressive ICE chemotherapy that I have been getting for the past five weeks has brought me back to or at least close to remission. If the scan is clean, I will be eligible for the bone marrow transplant and can proceed as planned.”

Kanas was feeling “OK” at the moment and was preparing to undergo a blood transfusion late last month at the University of Michigan because her hemoglobin levels dropped. Her last chemotherapy treatment forced her to stay in bed a lot, but with the love of family and friends, a healthy diet and her dog, Conoco, the young adult tries to stay upbeat.

In the meantime, family and friends have continued the search for a match for Kanas, a member of the staff at Troy Veterinary Hospital. On Feb. 26, her work family held a fundraiser at the animal hospital to raise money to help her with medical expenses.

“Attendance at our event exceeded all our expectations. We do appreciate everyone who came out,” veterinary assistant and friend Sarah Cosart said. “We would like to say thanks to Lukich Family Restaurant, Caribou Coffee, Elaine’s Bagels, El Charro, Brooklyn Pizza, and all of the local businessess and people for their support of Taylor.”

“Team Taylor” is working with the Be The Match Organization to help find Kanas a donor. On March 26, a bone marrow drive dubbed Rockin’ For A Match was held at the Emerald Theatre in Mount Clements as part of the search. As rock bands took over the stage and Kanas mingled with attendees, about 260 people, including Troy native Cosart, signed up for the organization’s donor list.

“It’s just a cheek swab to be tested to see if you’re a match,” Cosart said. “It’s not as scary as it used to be.”

A bone marrow or cord blood transplant replaces a patient’s unhealthy blood-forming cells with healthy ones. Kirsten Lesak-Greenberg, spokesperson for the National Marrow Donor Program, said there are two ways to join Be The Match. Potential donors can register at www.bethematch.org, where they fill out a medical history and receive a cheek swab kit in the mail. Prospective donors also can sign up in person at bone marrow drives by logging on to the website, inputting their ZIP code and finding a drive that way. There is no cost to sign up, but monetary donations are welcome.

Lesak-Greenberg said donors must be between the ages of 18 and 60, and must be willing to donate to any patient in need. They also must update any changes in their health history or if they moved.

“If you are called as a potential match, we bring you in for the testing to make sure you are the best match for that person,” Lesak-Greenberg said. “Doctors choose what method you donate.”

About 76 percent of the time, a patient’s doctor requests a peripheral blood stem cell donation, which is a non-surgical outpatient procedure. Five days before the procedure, donors also begin taking medication, which may cause flu-like symptoms.

“Blood is drawn from one arm and cycled through a machine to separate the stem cells from your blood stream that is collected,” Lesak-Greenberg said. “The rest of your blood returns to your body.” The procedure could take four hours in one day or four hours within two days.

About 24 percent of the time, the doctor requests marrow, which is a surgical outpatient practice that occurs at a hospital. General or regional anesthesia is used. Patients might feel soreness in their lower back for several days after the procedure.

Be The Match provides access to 9 million potential donors. Further information can be obtained by calling (800) MARROW2.

To see if you are a match for Kanas, visit www.bethematchfoundation.org/goto/teamtaylor.
 

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