Tag Archives: ALL

Residents “Flood” Our Lady of Hope to help save 6-year-old


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

The little boy, beaming on the back of the fire engine in his father’s oversized uniform, stole the heart of an entire community.

Over 1,900 people registered to become bone marrow donors at a drive on Saturday, February 18 at Our Lady of Hope Catholic School in Middle Village – an effort stemming from six-year-old Colin Flood’s recent diagnosis of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL).

Volunteers came out in droves, dressed in T-shirts reading “Blasting Out Leukemia Trooper Style,” with a picture of a giant robot yielding a ray gun. On the back, in bold letters, it read, “TEAM COLIN.”

Joanne Clarke, a long-time friend of the Flood family, worked the registration table, getting potential donors signed up and instructing them on the process of bone marrow donation. Armed with charts and diagrams, Clarke told a young couple about Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Donation – a method where cells are spun out of a donor’s blood and collected before the blood is returned back to the donor.

“Hopefully we can find Colin a donor,” said Clarke. “Hopefully something good comes out of [the drive].”

On the opposite side of the room, potential donors scraped cheek swabs along the inside of their mouths and sealed them in envelopes.

Over the next three to four weeks, DKMS — the non-profit organization that registers potential donors — will test for Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA), contained in human tissue, to see if there is a match. Donors who register with DKMS have the potential to provide life-saving materials to anyone, worldwide.

James Kirkland, a representative from DKMS, bounced around the room, greeting attendees and meeting with other volunteers. He called the experience “mind-boggling.”

“Usually good turnout for a drive is around 150, 200 people,” he said. “This is incredible.”

For those who were not able to attend the bone marrow drive but are still interested in donation, visit www.getswabbed.org. Registration is free and materials are sent from DKMS directly to your home.

 

Help Save Colin


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

COLIN FLOODw

While most families celebrated Christmas by exchanging gifts, Kevin and Jennifer Flood spent their holiday surrounded by doctors and discovering that their six-year-old son Colin has Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL).

Colin, described as an athletic and outgoing kid, experienced fevers, night sweats, aches and pains — symptoms his parents assumed were signs of the seasonal flu — the week before Christmas. He spent the holiday in the hospital, receiving his first round of chemotherapy.

A first-grade student at Our Lady of Hope Catholic School in Middle Village, Colin plays in a peewee basketball league. Forced to give up the game he loves due to his illness, he is confined to the hospital, where he receives constant treatment.

Kevin, a retired firefighter who fought to protect the community during 9/11, is now asking others to assist him in his efforts to save his son, by urging people to get tested to see if they are able to donate bone marrow.

“The hardest thing as a parent is knowing there is nothing I can do to help save my son,” said Kevin. “So please, get swabbed and give Colin a fighting chance.”

DKMS, a non-profit organization that helps determine if people are suitable for bone marrow donation, will hold a registration session at Our Lady of Hope on Saturday, February 18 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Open to those in good health, people between the ages of 18 and 55 can potentially donate to any patient in need of a transplant.

“I hope this [drive] inspires other people to see what they can do,” said DKMS spokesperson James Kirkland. “All it takes is genuine compassion.”

For more information about DKMS, visit www.getswabbed.org.

Help give the gift of life


| mchan@queenscourier.com

CARLYw

Carly Rose Nieves will be turning 16 in January, but in lieu of a lavish Super Sweet 16 party most girls her age plan for years, she is putting all her efforts into saving lives.

The Middle Village teen has been battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) — a cancer of the white blood cells that normally fight infections — since she was seven.

Carly received blood transfusions and underwent two years of intensive chemotherapy. Then at age 12, she suffered a relapse of ALL after three years. The relapse placed Carly in the high-risk category, which requires additional intensive, high-dose chemotherapy.
Because of her intensive treatment, Carly — who adores school and managed to graduate as an honor roll student in the 6th grade — had to miss many years of it.

Now Carly — who regrew a full head of hair following the chemo — is out of treatment and in remission. And after being out of school for three years, Carly is back as a freshman at Christ the King (CTK) Regional High School and she is “loving every minute of it.”

“She’s doing awesome,” said her mother, Lisa. “She’s still very tired and weak, but that’s expected for the first year or so. But she manages every morning to get up and go to school. It’s just been a great experience for her because she can socialize now that she has an immune system.”

Now at school, Carly has a great following of friends and administrators who understand.

“There are kids that remember her from last year because she did a speech at their Thanksgiving Mass,” Lisa said. “All the kids in her classes, teachers, everyone at the school — they all seem to get along great. She has good and bad days because of the chemo, but the teachers really understand.”

Still, Carly has not forgotten the friends she made in the hospital and others that are still suffering, including one friend — of Italian and Chinese descent — who relapsed for the second time and has a hard time finding a bone marrow donor match because of her ethnicity.

That’s why Carly, her friends and family are holding another community blood and bone marrow drive for the second year in a row at Christ the King, and they need as many people as possible to donate on December 17 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Those of Asian descent are particularly needed to match Carly’s friend, Lisa said.

“We need to find the positive in all of this, and this is the only way we could think of to try and help as many people as we can. It truly does save a life,” Lisa said, adding that one bag of blood can save three lives.

Last year, they collected 200 pints of blood, registered 54 people to be bone marrow donors and raised $3,000 for Friends of Karen — an organization that supports critically ill children and their families.

This year, they will have a few small raffles to continue raising money for Friends of Karen. Prizes include gift baskets and toy prizes that were donated, including a tricycle and a wooden fire engine.

But mainly, Lisa said, she wants to spread awareness about how important and easy it is to register and donate.

“Carly needed a lot of transfusions during her treatment. The last thing you ever want to hear as a patient or a parent is ‘We ran out.’ That happened to us once. It’s just very scary,” Lisa said. “You can save a life and a family’s life. It’s amazing what can be done from just swabbing your cheeks.”
Lisa explained that cancer patients may require frequent blood transfusions because aggressive treatment often destroys healthy blood cells along with diseased ones. Red blood cell transfusions to fight anemia and platelet transfusions to control bleeding are often needed.

“Carly keeps that in mind all the time,” she said. “She tries to get everyone to be aware. We just want to tell people how easy it is to give the gift of life. What better time of year to do it than the holiday season? It’s better than giving money.”

For more information about becoming a marrow donor, call 1-800-MARROW-2. It’s a simple process that takes just a few minutes of paperwork and a cheek swab.

To learn more about Friends of Karen, go to www.friendsofkaren.org.
And to find out more about the blood drive, on Saturday, December 17 at Christ the King, 68-02 Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village, email lhorner67@gmail.com.