Archived Story

Bank will host bone marrow drive honoring Lilianna

Published 5:53pm Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lilianna Thompson of Clanton has become Chilton County’s poster child for surviving cancer with a smile on her face.

Lilianna, 3, is the daughter of Anna and Randy Thompson of Clanton and was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia last year.

Local residents are invited to support Lilianna and patients like her by joining the Be The Match registry at a bone marrow drive Dec. 13 at Peoples Southern Bank in Clanton.

The drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to allow those interested in being potential donors for Lilianna or someone else to join the registry.

AML, Lilianna’s form of leukemia, is cancer of the blood cells and bone marrow that progresses rapidly but is curable with help from proactive and aggressive treatment.

After multiple rounds of chemotherapy and two cord blood transplants, Lilianna relapsed in March, began more chemotherapy and stayed in remission for six months.

In light of her bravery that surfaced during her most trying treatments and procedures, Lilianna became such an inspiration to others in the community that she was named honorary chairwoman of the 2012 Chilton County Relay For Life event in April.

“We did monthly bone marrow biopsies but in late September, she had an abnormal biopsy,” Anna Thompson said. “By the time we came up with a chemo plan that we thought would be best for Lilianna and keep her at home, her leukemia had already spilled over into her blood, which changed everything.”

Lilianna was admitted to the hospital on Oct. 1 and immediately began intense chemo to kill the leukemia.

She achieved remission again and recently finished her second round of intense chemo.

“We are currently waiting on her counts to recover,” Anna said. “She’ll have her third transplant in late December, early January.”

Doctors use the Be The Match registry—comprised of more than 10 million people—to find bone marrow donors worldwide.

To join the registry, one must be between the ages of 18 and 44, be willing to donate to any patient in need and meet the health guidelines.

“You’re only contacted if you’re someone’s match,” Anna said. “If you’re called, you don’t have to do it. But remember, a last-minute decision could be life-threatening to the recipient, so it’s extremely important to think about it before you get put on the registry.”

A painless cheek swab is all it takes for a potential donor who meets all qualifications to join the registry.

More details about donor qualifications are available at Bethematch.org.

Monetary donations will be accepted at the drive as well because Be The Match relies on financial contributions to exempt new members from paying $100 to join.

Those who cannot be donors may contribute any amount of money they wish to help others who can be donors.

For more information or to volunteer with Be The Match, contact Rachel Harris at rharris@nmdp.org or (205) 552-9371.

“Every body is different, therefore all people are needed on the registry,” Anna said. “You could carry the gift of life, so why not share it this holiday season?”

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