When Rachel began to experience severe back pain in May 2017, she didn’t think much of it. After no significant relief with physical therapy, her doctors ordered an MRI. Eventually, a diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma, a cancer of the blood’s plasma cells, was made. The diagnosis was a shock, and the realization that she could not survive was difficult to accept. All she could do was pray for the strength to face the difficult path ahead. Rachel began high-dose chemotherapy and had her bone marrow extracted to be used for her autologous stem cell transplant. Following a two-week hospital stay, where Rachel was in isolation due to having no immune system, the recovery period is typically many months up to a year, and Rachel wondered how she would survive financially. The grant from KW Cares provided enough financial assistance that Rachel could focus on healing without constant financial worry. In July, Rachel received the wonderful news that she was in full remission.
Medical advancements have made a world of difference for the treatment of Multiple Myeloma, but it is still considered an incurable disease. Many patients who go through an autologous stem cell transplant will need a donor transplant in the future. Rachel is passionate about adding as many donors to the bone marrow registry as possible. Joining the Be The Match Registry means volunteering to be listed as a potential blood stem cell donor, ready to save the life of any patient in need of a transplant.