Stories of Hope | Page 8 | Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation

Stories of Hope

To better understand the impact of bone marrow failure, we present stories told by the patients, parents, family members, and spouses who are living with these illnesses. Our entire community benefits from the insightful stories patients and family members share with us about their personal journeys.

Kathryn Bauer

Retired MDS Patient Living Life to the Fullest Since Transplant

I retired from Dun & Bradstreet, after 35 years of working all over the US and Europe as a business analyst and Vice President of Operations and Data Acquisition.  I was living the life I had always aspired to -- traveling, volunteering for a number of non-profit organizations, taking the occasional consulting job, enjoying a few classes at the local college, and just having fun. Then, in August 2009, I had a blood test and it showed something was off with my white and red blood cells. I...

Ruth Cuadra

Long-term survivor and dedicated volunteer

2015 will mark the 17th anniversary of my victory over myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).  An unrelated-donor bone marrow transplant saved my life and cured me of the disease in 1998. I was originally diagnosed with aplastic anemia, in 1996, when a routine checkup showed that my blood counts were at life-threateningly low levels.  I was treated with the immunosuppressant called ATG and experienced some improvement, but could never get back to normal blood counts.  Eventually I was found to have...

Pat Reep

Maggie O'Neil, Los Angeles Walk Committee

I became involved in the Hope, Steps & A Cure Walk after my mom passed away from MDS in March 2012.  I was overcome with many emotions (sadness, anger, confusion, shock, etc), and I wanted to channel those into doing something good.  So I "Googled" and found the Hope Steps & A Cure Walk, and the most incredible part was that the walk was to be held the following month (April) in my hometown of Long Beach!  I immediately jumped on board and in that next month Team Pat Reep...

Chris Nein

Inspiring young survivors

Christopher Nein recently earned his fourth AA&MDSIF Scholarship award. The aplastic anemia survivor is attending Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia and was recently married. As part of his application for the 2012 scholarship program, Chris wrote the following personal letter to all children and youth currently struggling with bone marrow failure diseases. In Chistopher's own words: Friend and fellow fighter: Most twenty-two year olds do not have vivid...

David, Nicholas and Elizabeth Manley

Mother Tells How Son’s Aplastic Anemia Impacted Entire Family

A horrifying diagnosis Barbara Manley found herself living every parent’s nightmare the night her two-year-old son, David, was admitted to the hospital for increasingly serious bruising. “The doctor said it’s either aplastic anemia or leukemia, and you’d better pray for leukemia. I knew leukemia was bad, so that was horrifying.” By the time of his diagnosis of aplastic anemia in January, 2002, David was dangerously close to spontaneous hemorrhaging. A blood transfusion provided some temporary...

Debby Cook

Feeling at home in the muddy water

"May we live like the lotus, at home in the muddy water.” Judith H. Lasater, PhD In 2003, I had no idea who Judith Lasater was, and I was not at all at home in the “muddy water.”  I was a 5th grade teacher, I was hoping to start a family with my husband, and I had plans that in no way involved having a bone marrow failure disease.  And yet, in September that year, a series of doctor appointments led me to Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC and to the National Institutes of...

Bunny Williams

Fighting PNH with Perseverance and Spirit

Bunny Williams was diagnosed with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) in the spring of 2000. Her symptoms were fatigue, stomach cramps, difficulty swallowing and jaundice. At the Phoenix Regional Patient and Family conference in March 2011, Bunny shared her story with other patients and families at the Celebration of Hope ceremony. In Bunny’s Own Words I would spend a good portion of the day on the sofa.  My husband got the meals, washed dishes, did the laundry and...

Duane Draper

Builds supportive community to help him with MDS and bone marrow transplant

When Duane Draper was diagnosed with MDS in July, 2009, the 57-year-old father of two grown children was asymptomatic and didn’t even realize that there was a problem with his health. Though he had been feeling slightly more fatigued, he attributed it to aging and didn’t worry about it. However, during a  physical, his physician did some routine blood work and discovered that all three of his blood counts were low. “Initially, I was really surprised to learn that my blood counts were low,”...