Local Family Encourages Sign-Ups to Bone Marrow Transplant Registry After Donor Falls Through

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There’s good news and there’s bad news.

The good news is Tess Lund, a Chehalis-raised woman who was diagnosed last summer with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, entered remission in October after a successful drug treatment.

The bad news is she needs a bone marrow transplant, and her original match recently fell through.

“She was matched with a donor in Europe and was ready for transplant and then that donor was dropped from the registry,” said Tess’s Mom, Stacey Cummings. “They go back to the starting board. They have to go back to the registries and try to find a new donor.”

Her remission — thanks to the current drug, which is an intravenous medication she has to administer once per day — means she is physically ready to receive the transplant, which will require about 100 days of recovery time.

As a patient with Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Lund is receiving high-quality treatment close to home. But it also means she has to be far away from her husband and baby son. She and her husband Nick Lund, who was also raised in Chehalis, have been stationed in Fort Riley, Kansas for Nick’s job as an Army Ranger.

Luckily, there is a way for anyone between the ages of 18 to 40 to help out: get tested and registered to “Be The Match,” a registry that matches bone marrow donors with patients whose lives may be saved by the transplant procedure.

According to Lund’s sister, Josie Cummings, 80% of bone marrow donations are akin to giving plasma, and the other 20% require an hour-long surgical procedure with a few days recovery. Only about one in every 430 people registered are called on to donate, and the organization works to make donation as easy as possible by covering costs of meals, lodging, travel, child care and pet care for the donor.

“We’re trying to get her in this spring, because in April or May they're moving to North Carolina,” Stacey Cummings said. “Praying for her and signing up for the registry is all we can do for her right now.”

For more information, or to get registered, visit BeTheMatch.org or text “gettessted” to 61474.

Donating blood could also help patients with leukemia. To do so, visit schedule.bloodworksnw.org.