January 7, 2008

Positivity: She’s 1 in a Million

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

From New Bedford, Massachusetts:

When Jerry Parkhurst of Memphis, Tenn., was diagnosed in summer 2005 as having acute lymphoblastic leukemia, he knew he needed a miracle.

Little did he know that the miracle would come in the form of 35-year-old New Bedford resident, Lucie Costa.

“I can’t even begin to thank her for what she did for me,” said Mr. Parkhurst, 25, who is known to his family and friends as Chip.

“She saved the life of a complete stranger.”

When Mr. Parkhurst was diagnosed as having the particularly aggressive form of leukemia, he was given less than 30 days to live unless he immediately began chemotherapy.

Although he initially responded well to treatment, it soon became apparent that a bone marrow transplant would be his only chance for survival.

“It came on so quickly, we were completely taken by surprise,” recalled Chip’s father, Jerry Parkhurst Sr., also of Memphis.

When no bone marrow match was found within Chip’s family, the Parkhursts focused their hopes on the National Marrow Donor Program, a nonprofit organization that pairs potential donors with patients. The program has millions of members who agree to participate in lifesaving bone marrow transplants if they match a patient in need.

“It was real tough because they found this man who was a perfect match and he failed the physical exam,” said Chip, a recent college graduate and avid athlete.

Then the program turned up Ms. Costa, who resides in New Bedford with her husband, Brian, and son, Zachery.

Although she wasn’t a perfect match, she was Chip’s best hope for a cure.

“Needless to say, we were doing backflips,” the elder Mr. Parkhurst said. “The fact that a person would be willing to do something like this for someone they don’t even know is amazing.”

So without ever having met Chip and without even knowing his name at the time, Ms. Costa donated her bone marrow at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, enabling Chip to receive a lifesaving marrow transplant in summer 2006.

Go here for the rest of the story.

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