Bone marrow match found for Cohen
Laura Cohen announced in an email Monday that a perfect bone marrow match has been found for her son Cody.
Cody Cohen is a Fairfield High School senior who was diagnosed with a blood disease known as MDS that prevents his bone marrow from producing healthy blood cells. His mother’s email indicated the match was discovered in a person who joined the blood marrow drive a few weeks ago in a city other than Fairfield.
The Cohen family is at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics today. Laura said she found out the perfect match is a 21-year-old female. She will go in for her complete medical workup Thursday. If the testing goes well, Laura believes the woman will be cleared to donate.
The hospital is planning to harvest the donor’s marrow on March 21 and then transplant it into Cody’s body the following day. Cody will be admitted into the hospital for 10 days of pre-transplant conditioning chemotherapy on March 11.
“We are not going to do the extra month of chemo first, but rather go straight to the ‘conditioning regimen’ chemo which occurs immediately prior to transplant,” Laura wrote in an email.
Laura said she was pleased to learn Cody will get a break before he has to receive another chemo treatment.
“We get a free couple of weeks at home out of the deal!” Laura wrote. “Cody had a really good 18th birthday this weekend, and this made for an amazing birthday present!
“So many thanks to everyone for the thoughts, prayers, well wishes, cards, gifts, meals, and offers of help. You can’t even begin to imagine how touched we are,” she wrote.
Laura said the family was thrilled and relieved when they learned a perfect bone marrow match had been found for Cody. The family members were not the only ones who were excited.
“The U of I transplant doctor was ‘elated’ when he found out, and was so excited to tell us the news,” Laura wrote in an email. “In kids and adolescents with MDS, the time from diagnosis to transplant is extremely important, so we are feeling very blessed that this individual joined the National Bone Marrow Program registry the week before last!”
In the past few weeks, the Cohen family has sought a matching donor by holding donor registry drives. Potential donors collected skin cells from inside their cheek using cotton swabs. The cotton swabs were then submitted to a lab for testing. One drive was held Saturday at the Jefferson County Health Center and another was held Monday at the Fairfield High School.
“Cody, Mark [Cody’s father] and I were chatting yesterday about the drives and how exciting it is to think that someday, someone else might have a second chance because of all those folks who had their cheeks swabbed in honor of Cody this weekend,” Laura said.
“Cody said that there were kids at school who had asked him whether they could join the bone marrow registry specifically for him,” she continued. “He told me that his answer to them was that when he was admitted into Children’s [Hospital] for a few days in January and saw little tiny kids walking around baldheaded, obviously undergoing chemo, he wanted to do everything he could to find them bone marrow donors. For that reason, he was really happy that the Fairfield drives were as busy as they were, and is glad that his photo and bio will be used for other drives that are happening around Iowa soon.”