When I joined Team in Training, I had very little knowledge about blood cancers.  I have a friend who is in remission for Hodgkins but he has only ever mentioned it in passing.  He has never shared the details and I met him long after he was in remission.

I could have joined a training program for any number of good causes; I was not emotionally attached to this one.  Even though I thought running with a reason would be far better, more satisfying & more motivating than running just to run.

Meet Luca.

About a month ago, a high school friend started posting daily photos of her son Luca.  Luca who went from this vibrant curly haired boy to a boy with a shaved head and tubes in his nose.  There is a photo of his dad with newly bare scalp.  Photos sleeping.  Reading books.  Being cradled by his parents, grandparents.  It has been incredibly touching.

Luca was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia – AML – acute myeloid leukemia.  His first round of chemo has not been successful.  As they continue the second round, hoping for a better outcome, they are also furiously searching for a bone marrow donor for a possible transplant in September.  Ten weeks away!!  (I have more time to train for my half!)

Luca is about 18 months old .  I am not even sure he has the words to describe what he feels, much less understand what is happening.  I cannot even begin to imagine what his parents feel or how they make it through each day.  I can only relate what its like to hear your dog has cancer.  But a beautiful vibrant little boy?

Consumate researcher that I am, I have learned much about bone marrow transplants the past few days.  I always envisioned the transplant process to be incredibly painful.  NOT TRUE.  In most cases, the process is similar to donating plasma or platelets.  In a quarter of transplants, a surgical, outpatient procedure takes place with general or regional anesthesia.  A bit sore for a few days after the surgery but then you’re back to normal.

I could bore you with statistics but really, what is needed is donors.  You can go here to find out if you are medically eligible to be a bone marrow donor.  You can register for the free test kit here.  A couple of cheek swab samples later, you are placed on the donor list for any potential patient in need.  And since ethnicity plays a major role in transplant success, there is a HUGE need for multi-racial donors.  You can check out Mixed Marrow for additional information & statistics.

I encourage you to register to become a potential bone marrow donor – I sent for my free kit yesterday.  Luca is half Turkish, half Caucasian – if you know anyone who is half Turk, half Caucasian, please beg them to become a potential bone marrow donor.

US: www.marrow.org 

UK: www.anthonynolan.org

All photos taken by Luca’s family.