Glenwood among three stem cell, bone marrow donor drive sites Dec. 3

Glenwood will be among three southwest Iowa communities conducting stem cell / bone marrow donor drives Saturday, Dec. 3, from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

The drives, which are also taking place in Treynor and Villisca, are in honor of Annika Vohs and Rich Fast, who both may be in the need a transplant in the near future.  

Annika, a junior at Treynor High School and the daughter of Jeff and Shantelle Vohs, has been battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia since last spring. Fast, the husband of former Glenwood Community High School vocal music teacher Kay Fast has been waging an on-going fight with his cancer for several months.

The drives will be at the Mills County Engineer’s Office Meeting Room (403 Railroad Ave.) in Glenwood, in Treynor at the Zion Congregational Church (103 East Main St.) and in Villisca at the Southwest Valley Middle School gym (406 East 3rd St.) from 10-4.
Individuals ages 18-44 are being encouraged   to participate in the drive to have the chance to potentially save someone’s life.

“Every year, thousands of people are diagnosed with a blood cancer. A stem cell/bone marrow transplant is a potentially life-saving treatment for more than 70 different diseases, including leukemia, lymphoma, and sickle cell disease,” Mills County Public Health Administrator Sheri Bowen said. “Individuals wishing to participate will fill out brief informational forms, and do a mouth swab.  That is the extent of the process.”

Bowen noted there is no cost involved in becoming part of the international registry.

“If you are chosen to donate to someone in need, you would go through a process of donating stem cells, which is much like giving blood,” she said. “In some cases (25 percent), doctors feel that a bone marrow transplant is a better option, which would be an outpatient procedure.  

“The best option for a patient needing a stem cell transplant is a sibling.  However, there is only a 25 percent chance of a sibling being a perfect match - 70 percent of patients needing this type of transplant need to find a match from the donor registry.”

Bowen said while there are 25 million people worldwide on this registry, many people find no perfect match. She encourages individuals who are unable to attend one of Saturday’s drives but would to like to help out to visit the website where they can request a donor package.

“This site also provides a great deal of information about the donor process and also offers an option for those over age 44 to donate,” Bowen said.

Questions concerning the drives can be answered by any of the following coordinators:  Bowen at 712-527-9699 in Glenwood, Kay Fast at 712-826-8399 in Villisca and Marcie Lippert at 712-487-3422 in Treynor. 

The Opinion-Tribune

116 S Walnut St Glenwood, IA 51534-1665
P.O. Box 377, Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-527-3191
Phone: 712-623-2566
Fax: 712-527-3193

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