How one simple act changed a life forever
In March 2000, Nancy Lavenduski, a wife and mother of three, made a visit to her physician for fatigue and a pain in her shoulder. She received news nobody ever expects-she had leukemia. Her best hope for a cure was a marrow transplant.
"Being diagnosed at 47 and not having a marrow match within my family, I was told that the mortality rate was too great and I would not be eligible for an unrelated donor," Nancy says. At that time, the preparatory treatments for marrow transplants were considered too toxic for people of Nancy's age and she was given four to six years to live.
Two years after her diagnosis, her anxiety grew. By this time, Nancy was not responding as well to medication, and the concern of her entire family was mounting. Something needed to change, and her husband, Joe, was ready to make it happen. He took Nancy to a hospital in Texas for a second opinion.
In the two years since she had been diagnosed, transplant research had advanced. More patients in their 50s and 60s could safely receive an unrelated marrow transplant. It was time for Nancy's second chance. In December 2002, Nancy had her transplant and her second chance at life, thanks to her donor, Chris Stoeberl.
Chris is a letter carrier from Boise, Idaho, who, as he simply puts it, was just glad to have the opportunity to help someone. He joined the registry in 1996 during a U.S. Postal Service blood drive.
"He's changed my life," says Nancy's daughter, Stacy. "My children having a grandmother, it's the way it's supposed to be. Chris made my life the way it's supposed to be."
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