Shira Klein was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma on New Year’s Eve in 2010, just days before her youngest son, Lucas, turned one year old. Klein, a mother of three from Marlboro, has been undergoing chemotherapy treatments since her diagnosis and is now in need of a stem cell transplant.
Livingston resident Michelle Tepper, a close friend of Shira will be holding a bone marrow drive at her Boulderwood Drive residence on Sunday, Sept. 30. This comes after Justin Klein, Shira’s husband, wrote a letter to friends and family, urging them to try and help his wife.
“In my adult life, I have never been good at asking for anything, from anyone. However, now, I have no choice,” wrote Justin. “What I need to achieve requires the commitment and participation of everyone I know, everyone they know, and everyone they know. I am reaching out for help to give, Shira, the love of my life, the mother of my three beautiful children, Rylie (9), Brayden (6) and Lucas (2) a second lease on life. Shira is fighting for longevity.”
Becoming a registered bone marrow or stem cell transplant donor is easy, according to Keri Gorsky, who is co-hosting the event. Potential donors fill out a form stating that they would like to be in the donor database and are willing to donate to anybody in need. Then all that needs to be done is for the donor to take a cotton swab and rub it against their cheek. The DNA from the swab will determine if the donor is a match.
If a donor comes up as a match, the donation process is not as painful as many believe, according to National Marrow Donor Program.
The most common way to donate is through a procedure called Peripheral Blood Cell Donation, which means the donor does not undergo surgery but instead receives injections over just a few days.
The injections, according to National Marrow Donor Program, increases healthy cell production. The donation is performed much like a transfusion, a simple procedure of sitting down and donating blood.
While PBCD is common today, many people are familiar with marrow donation, where marrow is extracted from the hip bone of a donor, a procedure that has vastly improved over the years.
According to the National Marrow Donor Program, donors are anesthetized and marrow is removed from the pelvic area. The recovery time will feel sore and stiff, similar to the feeling of a pulled muscle or bruise.
Justin Klein is simply hoping more people will register, and his young wife's odds of finding a match will drastically improve.
"I need your help TODAY; not tomorrow, not next week, but today,” said Justin. “Your immediate action could be the needle in the haystack we are looking for."
The drive on Sept. 30 will be held at 11 Boulderwood Drive in Livingston. It will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Shira Klein’s supporters also have a Facebook page called “Smiles4Shira.” The group is planning to hold drives all over the state. However, if anyone can’t make it to a drive, it's simple to donate at home.
You can request a swab kit from one of the following organizations, and simply mailing back the kit will register you as a national donor.