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Bone marrow donor drive Saturday at Lodal Park

July 1, 2013
The Daily News

EDITOR:

Do you feel helpless when it comes to cancer?

So many do, that is exactly the way I felt when my nephew Owen Ellis was diagnosed with liver cancer. You instantly turn to God for prayer in seeking answers.

With not knowing why, you also seek what you can do to help. You put on a benefit. You walk the "Relay for Life." You find a way to help. I have done all this.

On Aug. 6, 2011, we said goodbye to our little warrior. He was the most beautiful, courageous, humble little boy who loved Thomas the Train.

am so honored that God gave him to my sister and brother-in- law. They had tremendous strength and faith on this journey. We were all taught that "every day is a gift."

In dealing with cancer I had learned that leukemia patients receive at least two years of chemo. It broke my heart to watch Owen endure only five months.

Sept. 23, 2011, a family friend did a bone marrow drive for a relative. His name was Owen Pilot. He had leukemia and needed a transplant.

I instantly thought I have to step forward. I went to the drive and signed up. I came home and told my husband (Joe Champeau) what I did.

He thought I was crazy. I come from a family with bad hips and had my own issues with mine. I told him about the different ways it can be done now. You have a 20 percent chance that you would ever be a match. My thought was I will deal with it if I were ever given the chance. I wasn't going to worry about it.

That following summer, I had helped out at the Zero Gravity event that was held on my birthday. When I got home I saw I had a overnight package that was time sensitive.

I was so exhausted I waited until the next day to open it. Upon opening the package I found that I was a match to someone that has blood cancer.

I read, with my husband, the materials they had sent. We both thought how could you not go through with this. This is their only hope. A chance at life again.

The next step for me was to have my blood drawn to see if I was the perfect match for this patient. At that time I was told that she was a 69-year-old woman that has A.M.L. (an aggressive type of leukemia) .

On the anniversary of Owen's passing we were out of town. I was having such a bad day I decided that we had to head home and be with my sister and her family.

As I was driving home I got the call that I had been waiting for. I was the perfect match! I knew instantly it was the working of our angel.

My next step was a physical. They booked a flight to Washington D.C. for me to have this done.

The morning of my departure I had a vision. Jesus and Owen had come to me. Owen said to him, "I know my aunty can do this, she is strong." I knew then it was him.

Upon returning home I had been told that I passed my physical. I would be donating by peripheral blood stem cell. This is done through the blood. (Kind of like kidney dialysis.)

It is so amazing what they can do now in medicine. I had such a peace in me throughout this whole process. I wasn't nervous at all.

I scheduled my injections (to increase my blood flow). They booked a flight for me and my husband to return to Washington, D.C. for my donation. I prepared my body with vitamins and hydration. I felt at this point that my body was a sacred temple. I needed to keep it healthy for this patient.

On Sept. 10, 2012, I did it! I donated my bone marrow. I always had donating blood on my bucket list. This procedure took six hours. After it was over I felt great.

She was able to receive my blood stem cells on Sept. 11. It was her birthday to her second life. We now share the same DNA and she will bleed my blood for the rest of her life.

She was released from the hospital within a month and is now back to her normal life. Praise God!

Want to know more? Please come visit me at the Zero Gravity event on July 6 at Lodal Park.

Show times are 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. I will be signing up people to be on the donor registry there.

It is a simple cheek swab. If you don't think you can be a donor, you can still make a monetary donation to DKMS Americas and help that way. Why not, you only have a 20 percent chance to be a match!

Shanna Champeau

Niagara, Wis.

 
 

 

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