Saxophonist Michael Brecker, 56, was diagnosed with MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome) and is in critical need of a stem cell transplant and his wife, Susan, has sent out an open plea for help.
After an initial search for a donor, which included Brecker’s siblings and children and resulted in no matches, his doctors advised him and his family to explore all possible options. As a result, they are encouraging as many people with a similar genetic background (Eastern European Jewish descent) to get tested for compatibility in hopes that someone will be able to donate bone marrow for a transplant.
The following is an excerpt from Susan Brecker’s letter:
There are some important points to understand concerning this process:
- The screening involves a blood test only. It can be done very quickly either at a marrow donation center or at a local lab. The cost is anywhere from $40 to $75 and your insurance may cover it. (In New York City, you can call Frazier, at the NY Blood Bank, at (212) 570-3441, and make an appointment for HLA typing. It costs $40.) Check with your local blood bank, or go to www.marrow.org to find the donor center nearest you.