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Dr. Carpenter

Erin continued with the preparation phase today (see the Fred Hutchinson Transplant Process Page for a description of the various phases of the transplant process). She met Dr. Carpenter, one of her attending physicians, who explained the transplant process and what she should expect during the next six to eight weeks. She also met with health care professionals from the nutrition and dental clinics, who are preparing her for various aspects of the transplant. We have been very impressed with all of the Seattle health care professionals so far.

We are settling into our apartment at the Pete Gross House. We are on the top floor and have a fabulous view of the Seattle skyline. Once we get a sunny day, we will take a picture from our window and put it up on the website. We spent some free time this afternoon at the Pike Street Market Place in downtown Seattle, including a visit to the original Starbucks. Seattle truly is a fabulous city.


Erin began the preparation phase of the transplant process today. She was busy meeting members of the team of health care providers and undergoing an array of blood tests, marrow typing and chest x-rays. We verified today that the donor has consented to a peripheral stem cell transplant, which is the type of transplant the doctors in Seattle prefer. As a result of the transplant, Erin's blood type will switch from A- (the same as Mom's blood type) to O (the donor's blood type, as well as Dad's blood type). Every one joked that Erin really is becoming more and more like her father! Despite having a slight cold, Erin is still on track for a November 21 transplant.


We have arrived in Seattle!

Emily and Kristen Carlson present quilt

made by Santa Fe Trail students and staff

Today was to have been the three-year anniversary of Erin's last day of chemotherapy—a day we had marked for a big celebration. Although we were not able to celebrate Erin's cure today, the Santa Fe Trail School community made it a special day all the same. They gave Erin a quilt, pillow sham and T-shirt made of images designed by students and teachers. As we left, all the students lined the drive and waved good-bye with cheers, balloons, bubbles, confetti and best wishes.

The past week has been a busy one for Erin. We would like to thank every one for the dinners out, treats, movies, gifts, calls and visits to wish us well during this phase of Erin's treatment.

Santa Fe Trail gives Erin a Trailblazer sendoff!

The Pete Gross House

We are now just a few days away from our departure for Seattle on October 27. Christy's last day at work was October 19. She is spending this week packing and preparing for Erin's stay in Seattle. In the meantime, Erin's social calendar is packed, filled with many well-wishers and goodbyes. She is feeling fine and in good spirits.

We are still on schedule for a November 21 transplant. Upon arrival in Seattle, Erin will undergo the first 16 to 18 days of testing and treatment on an outpatient basis. She will then spend the next four to five weeks at the local children's hospital. We will be staying at the Pete Gross House, 525 Minor Avenue North, Apt. 601, Seattle, Washington 98109. Our phone number will be 206-262-9057.

Dr. Woods

Erin returned home last Wednesday from her final chemotherapy session before leaving for Seattle. We still are on schedule for an October 27 departure for Seattle and a November 21 transplant. In the meantime, Children's Mercy will continue to monitor Erin's counts to make sure she is ready for her journey to Seattle. We are truly grateful for the first-rate and compassionate care that Dr. Woods and the CMH Oncology physicians and staff have provided Erin for the last seven years. We look forward to working with them again upon Erin's return.

We still encourage every one to participate in the bone marrow drive that will be held at the Church of the Resurrection at 137th and Roe on Saturday, November 3rd from 2pm to 7pm and Sunday November 4 from 7am to 2pm. Please call Todd and Molly Cowell at 913-685-4734 or Stacy and Diane Stuerke at 913-681-6373 if you have any questions.


Erin is back in the hospital now for chemotherapy and will return home either Wednesday or Thursday. This should be her last chemotherapy session before heading to Seattle. At this point, things are still on schedule for an October 27 departure and November 21 transplant. We know that the donor has now been contacted, and we learned today that she has been a donor once before. To our knowledge, she has agreed to donate. We should find out later this week whether she can donate on a schedule that allows for a November 21 transplant.

We have been very fortunate so far to have been able to locate a donor. Many others are not so fortunate, as there currently are 3,000 people seeking a donor who have not yet found a match. Only 4.2 million people (out of a total U.S. population of 280 million) are enrolled in the national bone marrow donor registry. We need to increase this number so that we can improve the chances of finding a match for every one. Accordingly, we encourage each of our friends who have offered to register as a donor to still register.

A bone marrow registration drive will be held at the Church of the Resurrection at 137th and Roe on Saturday, November 3rd from 2pm to 7pm and Sunday, November 4th from 7am to 2pm. This is a perfect opportunity to register because the usual $73 testing fee will be waived during this drive. Donors must be 18 to 59 years old and in general good health. The procedure is quick and simple—volunteers will spend about 30 minutes in total, watching an informative video, filling out paperwork and then donating one small vial of blood for marrow typing. Once you register, you will remain on the registry until age 60. If you have any questions, please call Todd and Molly Cowell at 913-685-4734 or Stacy and Diane Stuerke at 913-681-6373.


This past week has been a big week. Seattle has now identified a donor—the 36 year-old woman mentioned in the 9/24/01 update. In addition, the transplant schedule is falling into place, subject to the identified donor still being willing to donate and agreeing to the schedule. Erin's last chemotherapy session will begin on Monday, October 8, and last three days. After recovery, she will leave for Seattle on October 27 for two weeks of testing beginning on October 30. If testing goes well, high dose chemotherapy and radiation "conditioning" treatment will begin on November 14 and the actual transplant will occur on November 21 (the day before Thanksgiving).

© 2002. Bret and Christy Wilson.