Anna Pettyjohn, BHS Class of 2008, Stem Cell Donor at VCU
Anna was a stem cell donor Thursday, March
29th, 2012 at VCU, Richmond. She did the cheek swab last spring at William &
Mary and was called as a potential donor from the National Marrow Donor Program
last October, 2011. She went through further blood work and was determined to be
a perfect match for a 42 year-old international man with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
Time passed and she didn't hear much until mid January when she was told that
they did not need her at that time. Then in mid-February, 2012 she was called
and told that they wanted her to be a marrow donor in March, 2012 if all went
well. She had an extensive check-up with a chest x-ray and EKG, much blood work,
banked a unit of her own blood, and all went well. The procedure was much
shorter than expected - it took only 40 minutes to take 1.2 liters of bone
marrow from 2 incisions in her pelvic bone. She was under general anesthesia.
Dr. Harold Chung and the PA, Rick Edwards did the surgery. They were AWESOME.
Dr. Chung said that it had been a long time since they had such a successful
harvesting, probably because of her age and good health. The courier spoke all
Spanish and flew out the next morning. We were told that the recipient would
receive her marrow within 60-72 hours. We didn't realize that not only will he
get her marrow, stem cells, etc, but her healthy immune system will overpower
his sick one. On the evening after donating, Anna stayed on the bone marrow wing
as the only donor, with all other patients being recipients. She was treated
like royalty! She had some pain and was very tired. She needed Percocet Saturday
and then switched to Tylenol on Sunday.
Anna and her
donated stem cells:
My personal thanks to Anna. One day, I may be the recipient of someone's stem
cells. It is one of the treatments