CONTACT: TOM MOORE
Joint Office for Planning, Marketing and Communications
8788 John Pappajohn Pavilion
Iowa City IA 52242
Release: Nov. 7, 2001
NOTE TO EDITORS: The Celebrating Life Reunion will be Friday, Nov. 9 in the
Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union. Registration begins at 1 p.m. The
welcome and opening remarks will occur at 1:30 p.m. Bryan Van Fleet and Tiffany
Jennings will meet at approximately 2 p.m. The Robertson and the Lynn families
will meet at approximately 2:30 p.m. For assistance in covering this event,
please contact Tom Moore at (319) 356-3945.
Bone marrow, blood stem cell transplant reunion to be Nov. 9 at the IMU
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Approximately 400 patients who have received a bone marrow
or blood stem cell transplant, their families and caregivers will attend the
Celebrating Life Reunion on Friday, Nov. 9 at the Iowa Memorial Union.
During the celebration two patients will meet for the first time the donors
who helped save their lives. Bryan Van Fleet, 24, of Knoxville, Tenn., will
attend the reunion. He donated bone marrow to Tiffany Jennings, 23, of Strawberry
Point, Iowa. Van Fleet is newly married, and Jennings recently became engaged.
Her fiancé, Troy Helmrichs, said he wants to thank Van Fleet for saving
Nicholas Lynn, 10, of Dubuque, received a bone marrow transplant in 2000
after he was diagnosed with aplastic anemia. That transplant was unsuccessful.
He then received a peripheral blood stem cell transplant in 2001, which succeeded.
Kyle Robertson, administrator of Mercy Hospital Sports Medicine in Des Moines,
donated both his bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cells to Nicholas.
Nicholas' parents, Bob and Leigh Ann, are also registered with the National
Marrow Donor Program. Leigh Ann Lynn donated bone marrow herself in 1998 to
a 61 year-old woman diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia.
The Adult Blood and Marrow Transplant Unit at University of Iowa Hospitals
and Clinics performed its first marrow transplant in 1980. Since then, approximately
1,450 people have received transplants there. The unit currently transplants
more than 100 people each year.
Roger Gingrich, M.D., Ph.D., directs the transplant unit and serves as associate
director for clinical affairs in the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at
"As a transplant team, our goal is to restore people back to their lives,"
Gingrich said. "When patients come and stay with us on our Adult Blood
& Marrow Transplant Unit for their transplants, we see them at their most
vulnerable. At our Celebrating Life Reunion, we meet again in the arena of
Colleen Chapleau, director of the Iowa Marrow Donor Program, added, "This
event is a true celebration of the spirit. We share stories, triumphs, challenges
and the beauty we find in everyday life."
People in need of a blood stem cell transplant are diagnosed with a life-threatening
disease such as leukemia, lymphoma, and aplastic anemia. A blood stem cell
transplant involves the use of high doses of anticancer drugs or radiation
to destroy the patients diseased marrow and then giving the patient
healthy blood stem cells as a replacement. In an autologous transplant, the
patient's own blood stem cells are harvested, possibly treated, and then transplanted.
In an allogeneic transplant, another person donates the healthy marrow or
blood stem cells.
Each year, more than 30,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with
diseases treatable by a blood stem cell transplant. Of the patients needing
to receive healthy blood stem cells from someone else, only 30 percent have
a suitable family match, leaving the additional 70 percent to rely on unrelated
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between
the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient
care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit
UI Health Care online at www.uihealthcare.com.