A Different Kind of Holiday Gift

We are in the holiday season and many of us think of what we might do to help others. There are many, many persons throughout the United States who are in medical need of a stem cell transplant after other cancer therapies have failed. Modern technology has made donating stem cells much like donating blood. The process is virtually painless and not only can new stem cells relieve the recipient of suffering, in most cases it can save his or her life.

Here in Tulare County there is one person right now who is in need of a stem cell transplant. That person is my former colleague, Elisabeth Krant-Latronico. Elisabeth has been suffering from a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for most of this year.
I was on the panel that selected Elisabeth to become the Tulare County Juvenile Court Commissioner in 1991. She performed admirably under difficult circumstances. She heard and adjudicated all juvenile dependency and delinquency cases in Tulare County. When I became Juvenile Court Judge, I found her advice and assistance invaluable.
For more than two decades Judge Krant has served with distinction on the Superior Court bench, most recently in the Porterville Division. This year she was forced to resign because of the severity of her illness.

For a stem cell transplant to be successful it must be from a donor with certain genetic characteristics that closely match the person receiving the transplant. Men and women under the age of 45 are ideal candidates.

A national registry exists in which donors are matched with potential recipients. A potential donor wanting to register is mailed a special kit that instructs the donor how to take a simple cheek swab. The swab kit is then returned to the registry, a genetic analysis is done of the sample, and the donor is listed on a confidential database. At no time is a donor required to donate even if requested to do so. A donor can ask to be removed from the database at any time.

In early December a local outreach campaign will begin for Elisabeth and others like her for the national registry, BE THE MATCH. Potential donors can go online to register directly at www.bethematch.org. There one can learn about the whole process and request that a swab kit be mailed for purposes of collection, typing and registration.

In addition, the Central California Blood Centers in Visalia, Porterville, and Fresno will also take donor samples and assist in bone marrow and stem cell registration at any time

Special donor registration events for Elisabeth, and all persons seeking donor matches, are now being coordinated and will be held locally in Fresno, Kings, and Tulare Counties. One that is already confirmed will be held on Sunday, December 8, from Noon until 4pm at the Lifestyle Center in Visalia. For more information on additional donor registration dates and locations, please call Central California Blood Center at (559) 288-6319.

If this is something you want to do, please do not delay. Time is of the essence.

— William Silveira, Retired Judge

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