Freestyle event

Freestyle 2020

Welcome to Team Cheers to Karen

Meet Karen!

Karen is a very much loved daughter, mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, sister-in-law (of 5!) and cherished friend of many. She is also the high school sweetheart of her husband Richard of 50 years! We were all blindsided when Karen was suddenly Diagnosed with MDS (blood cancer) in September 2019 after a routine physical. This was hard to accept because she was the picture of health. She had no symptoms and was busy doing her thing at the gym, taking spin classes and lifting weights---crushing it! We have no idea how she got this crazy blood cell mutation.

Chemotherapy has been ongoing for 6 months with hope that Karen's 13-year-old grandson, Heath, would be the genetic match of her stem cells needed for her upcoming stem cell transplant. A stem cell transplant is the only path to cure blood cancer. As we were getting ready to leave in June for the transplant and long stay at Johns Hopkins, we found out that Heath's blood is no longer a match due to cetain antibodies. We were again devasted by the bad news, during a pandemic no less. Now we have to rally and find a new match.

Finding a match in the registry of donors is becoming quite a challenge, as a suitable stem cell donor would ideally be of Ashkenazi Jewish background and between the ages of 18-44. There are less than 3% of people registered as donors worldwide of that heritage but we know that there could be so many more if we get the word out! Just by doing a simple cheek swab and sending it in, you could end up being a match for Karen. If not for her, perhaps for someone else with your similar background. It’s just like doing any other DNA swab. It's simple, free, and who knows you might save a life! And by the way, being a donor is easy if you are a match, you only give blood, not marrow, so don't be intimidated.

We are not looking for money to pay for Karen's treatment. But please help us reach out all across the country to add stem cell donors to the registry to increase the odds of a match. However, if you wish to donate because you do not qualify to swab, your gift to Be the Match will be used for cure research and to assist other patients deserving of a second chance at life. Thank you!

By supporting Team Cheers to Karen, potential blood stem cell donors will be added to the Be The Match Registry® and fund life-saving research.

If you are between the ages of 18-44 and would like to join Be The Match Registry®, click here to have a free swab kit sent to your home:

 https://join.bethematch.org/CheersToKaren  or  text CheersToKaren at 61474

Be The Match Registry® stats:

More than 70 diseases can be treated & cured by a matched unrelated donor transplant, including leukemia, lymphoma, and sickle cell

70% of all patients who need a transplant do not have a matched donor in their family. They depend on Be The Match Registry® to find an unrelated donor or cord blood unit.Leukemia causes more deaths than any other cancer among children and young adults under the age of 20.

Every 3 minutes, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer like Leukemia. For many of these and other patients with diseases like sickle cell anemia, a marrow transplant is the only life-saving treatment-their only chance for a cure. Yet most don’t have a matching marrow donor in their family.

Every year, more than 12,000 patients are diagnosed with life-threatening blood cancers—like leukemia and lymphoma—or other diseases for which a blood stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor may be their best or only hope of a cure.

Every 10 minutes, someone dies from a blood cancer. That’s more than six people each hour, or 148 people each day.

They turn to Be The Match for the largest most diverse registry of potential blood stem cell donors and cord blood units in the world, offering one-on-one support, education and guidance before, during and after transplant. But first, a blood stem cell match must be found, and many patients still don’t have a donor.

How YOU can help:  Join-Volunteer -Give 

  • Help patients overcome financial barriers to transplant.
  • Grow the registry to create more matches.
  • Fund life-saving research.

To join all you need is to:

1)    Be between the ages of 18-44

2)    Be willing and committed to donate to any patient in need

3)    Meet the health guidelines

If you are between the ages of 18-44 and would like to join the registry, click here to have a swab kit sent to your home: 

https://join.bethematch.org/CheersToKaren  or  text CheersToKaren at 61474

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Did you know?

A bone marrow transplant can be a cure for patients with blood cancers and other life-threatening diseases. Seventy percent of patients do not have a fully matched donor in their family. They depend on Be The Match to find an unrelated marrow donor.

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