( ENSPIRE Health and Wellness ) Bright Future For Minorities Diagnosed With Leukemia
ENSPIRE Contributor: Jacara Watkins
Kirsten Riemer was diagnosed with leukemia at 34 years old. She is an African American woman and a mother to a three-year-old child. A bone marrow transplant was required however Riemer did not find an adult match, including her sister much to her displeasure. Her doctor advised her to use a “Blood Core Transplant”, stem cells are transported from the umbilical cord and placenta after the baby is born. It is kept frozen in public cord blood banks and is easy to transport. Kristen Riemer’s husband Tim Riemer described the relief both had when they were told of another alternative, stating “It was this sense of relief. We have a chance for our family to be all together again.”
Riemer has recovered after six years of the blood core transplant and wants to spread awareness about options available for bone marrow transplant patients. She has expressed how grateful she is for the advancement of technology. The discovery of the blood core transplant gives hope to people diagnosed with leukemia, specifically African Americans who are the least to find probable donors than their white counterparts according to Be The Match. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping patients get their donor match for a life-saving marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant. The probability for African Americans is 29% much less than 79% of their white counterparts.
Dr. Gail Roboz, an oncologist and a director of the Clinical and Translational Leukemia Program at Weill Cornell Medicine, and Dr. Sergio Giralt of the hematologic malignancies division at Memorial Sloan Kettering discuss on “Good Morning America” the progression of bone marrow transplants, how it is becoming more accessible in the “donor pool” thanks to advance technology which has shown more progress for those who have extreme cases such as Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).
Blood core transplant makes it possible for donors to find their match in a day as opposed to waiting for one to two weeks to search for a match. This gives patients a promising future.
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