The Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation brought together two extraordinary women – JoAnn Yahn and Dr. Lisa Minter – who both lost daughters to aplastic anemia and have contributed through volunteerism, philanthropy and scientific research to find cures for bone marrow failure diseases. These two women met for the first time at the AA&MDSIF’s 25th Anniversary Dinner.
JoAnn Yahn, from Upstate New York, lost her 20-year old daughter Torry to aplastic anemia in 1997. She has since turned tragedy into opportunity, raising more than $230,000 for research through an annual hometown barbecue. Her fundraising created the “Torry Yahn Research Study Award,” which will be awarded this year to Dr. Lisa Minter, who also lost her 13-year old daughter Stephanie Phakos to aplastic anemia in 1995. Dr. Minter, who works at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, is considered to be both an outstanding independent investigator and highly motivated to translate basic findings into clinical practice. She has dedicated her career to finding treatment options to this disease that took her daughter’s life.