Update on Cancer Nurse Battling Lymphoma:
Woke up to some wonderful news this morning. Angie Olson, the Long Beach oncology nurse battling lymphoma we profiled last week (wearing the red bandana), has found a Stem Cell match. Her transplant is scheduled for early February. Her donor turned out to be from a cord blood bank. Some stranger donated their newborn's umbilical cord, and it may just save Angie's life. Angie has an extremely tough road ahead, but her daughter Tiffany says, whatever the outcome, they are grateful her story got so many more people into the www.bethematch.org registry. They are hopeful those new registrations will help other cancer patients find their match.
Stay tuned for more updates.
Angie Olson spent her career caring for cancer patients as an oncology nurse at Long Beach Memorial cancer center. 14 years ago, a pain in her abdomen, led to a diagnosis of Stage 4 Lymphoma. and Angie became a cancer patient herself. Angie's chemotherapy drugs were selected following chemosensitivity testing by Long Beach oncologist Dr. Robert Nagourney, and her cancer went into remission until 2007. When it did return, Angie again went through tumor testing, got different chemotherapy drugs, and again went into remission. After another 6.5 years of being cancer free, Angie's cancer recently returned again. This time tests indicate that her only hope for survival is a Stem Cell Transplant.
None of Angie's two children, eight siblings, or 22 nieces and nephews are a match for her, and the National Marrow registry does not have a match yet either. Part of Angie's challenge in finding a match is her ethnicity: 75% Chinese & 25% Filipino. Asians and mixed race donors represent just 7% and 4% of the donor pool respectively. Since most donors share the same or similar ethnic backgrounds as their recipient, Angie and her family are working to raise awareness of the need for more people of Asian & Filipino descent to sign up.
Joining the Marrow Registry requires a cheek swab, and some health information. If it turns out you are a match for someone, saving a life, involves about a day's commitment to donate blood. Stem cells are then isolated and harvested from your blood and given to your recipient. Things have changed in recent years, donors no longer require anesthesia, or bone marrow aspiration.
If you are interested in seeing if you are a match for Angie or any other cancer patient, you can learn more about becoming a donor at www.bethematch.org.
For more on Chemosensitivity testing go to www.rational-t.com
For more on Long Beach Memorial Cancer Center go to http://www.memorialcare.org/services/cancer-care/cancer-care-long-beach-memorial