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North Vancouver family pleads for bone marrow donors
It's been less than a month since North Vancouver's Harris family — mom Erica, dad Harley and their two young sons — found out Erica had acute mylogenous leukemia.
The news came on the afternoon of June 6. Immediately, Erica, a chiropractor based in Lynn Valley, was admitted to Vancouver General Hospital. Her first round of chemotherapy started June 8. It lasted for seven days.
On June 21, Erica had a bone marrow biopsy to determine if the chemo was successful in destroying the cells. It wasn't.
According to a written statement from Harley, the biopsy showed about 10 per cent of Erica's bone marrow was still occupied by "immature" cells — cells doctors feared were leukemic.
On June 28, Erica had another biopsy and the family received more bad news. Between 60 - 70 per cent of her bone marrow was occupied by leukemic cells. As a result, Erica has been deemed a high-risk patient.
Her next round of chemotherapy — administered in harsher, larger doses — stared on June 30. It is estimated to last about a week, with a more than a month's recovery period scheduled afterward.
If this round of treatment does its job and Erica's condition goes into remission, she will need a bone marrow transplant immediately. If it it doesn't, doctors at VGH have told the family there is nothing more they can do.
Doctors and the family have been searching international databases for a possible bone marrow donor. So far, no luck.
The family is turning to the public for help and asking anyone who agrees to donate their bone marrow to sign up for the donor registry at onematch.ca.
Full information on the process is available on the site. Typically, Canadian Blood Services contacts those registered within eight-10 business days but Harley said those interested can call their local office to see if the timeline can be shortened.
A donor drive will also be set up in the Lynn Valley Town Centre on Friday as part of the community's summer concert series.
North Vancouver's Patrick Sullivan, father of Finn Sullivan, the youngster who died of a rare form of childhood cancer in October 2008 at 21-months old, is organizing the initiative.
For more, visit 365give.ca.