Kol Emeth Searches for Stem Cell Donor

A registration drive to help a young mother fighting a recurrence of Hodgkin's lymphoma will be held on Sunday.

Smiles4Shira and Temple Kol Emeth are holding a registration drive for potential stem cell donors Sunday, Oct. 14, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the synagogue east of Marietta.

Smiles4Shira was created by friends who want to keep Shira Klein smiling by helping her find the stem cell donation she needs. 

Klein, a young mother of three, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma on New Year's Eve 2010 while on a family vacation, just a few weeks before the first birthday of her youngest child. She endured months of intense chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant using her own cells, but the disease returned after a short remission.

For the past several months Klein has taken a new chemotherapy with the hope that she will achieve remission and undergo a second stem cell transplant. This time, the transplant requires a donor.

You can register as a donor by attending a drive and providing a cheek swab sample. Or you can have a swab kit mailed directly to your home. Your donation can save a life.

To learn more about Smiles4Shira, please visit www.facebook.com/Smiles4Shira.

Klein’s best chance at a match lies with people of similar ancestry and ethnicity to her Jewish, Eastern European lineage.

“You swab your cheek. If you are lucky enough to be someone’s lifesaving donor, the next step is as simple as giving blood,” said Krista Coppola, who donated stem cells to save her sister Meghan Rizzo’s life after a leukemia diagnosis. “Their hope and life is in the hands of those of you who are generous enough to save them.”

In principle, any generally healthy person age 18 to 55 who weighs at least 110 pounds and does not exceed a body mass index (BMI) of 40 can register as a donor. Certain health prerequisites must be met to protect the donor and the patient.

If you are a match, the most common way to donate is a peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation, in which cells are collected from the bloodstream. On the day of collection, the donor’s blood is drawn from one arm and passed through a machine that separates out the stem cells. The remaining blood is returned to the donor through the other arm.

Find out whether you can help save Shira Klein’s life by registering as a donor with a cheek swab Sunday, Oct. 14, between 8:30 and 11:30 a.m. at Temple Kol Emeth,1415 Old Canton Road, Marietta, GA 30062.

To have a kit sent to your home, please contact DKMS Americas at www.getswabbed.org.

Temple Kol Emeth, a Reform Jewish congregation in East Cobb, is celebrating our next 30 years on the ladder of learning, faith and family for people across metro Atlanta. Visit www.kolemeth.net for more information. 

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