Just shy of five years old, little Kai Anderson’s only concern should be looking forward to kindergarten. Instead, the little tyke is routinely subjected to a concoction of seven powerful chemotherapy drugs designed to stave off the effects of a rare form of cancer called Philadelphia Chromosome Positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Kai’s dad, David, is fighting a different kind of cancer. Kai’s mom, Bridget, had open−heart surgery two years ago.
On May 17, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the courageous Manhattan clan will be asking their friends in Brooklyn to come out to the Prospect Park YMCA at 357 Ninth Street and try to save little Kai’s life.
All you have to do is endure a quick swab of the inside of your cheek.
This simple and painless procedure is quick, but it’ll let doctors know if you are eligible to donate the vital bone marrow that could make all the difference in young Kai’s life.
Leukemia is the most common disease threatening the lives of children in the United States today, yet only three out of every 10 patients receives the bone marrow transplant that they need.
If you turn out to be a match for Kai, you’ll be asked to undergo one of two minor, non−invasive outpatient procedures where your healthy stem cells are extracted and used to replace Kai’s unhealthy cells.
The process of donating bone marrow takes anywhere between 45 and 90 minutes and involves inserting a needle in the back of your pelvic bone. Most donors report nothing more than a little soreness for a few days after the procedure.
Your healthy bone marrow will naturally replenish itself in a few weeks.
Today, however, most donated stem cells are actually obtained through another procedure that amounts to little more than drawing a small amount of a donor’s blood.
Peripheral Blood Stem Cell collections, or PBSC, are conducted over a five−day period and leave no significant side effects.