Finding stem cell donor match warden’s ‘only hope’ for fighting cancer

If all goes according to plan in Gregory Sanborns life over the coming weeks, doctors find a matching stem cell donor for him and he undergoes an aggressive year of procedures and solitary recovery, he can return to work cancer-free.

I let my immune system get strong, I come back to work a year from now, and I live to be old, fat and happy in my garden, Sanborn said.

The alternative: a stem cell match is not found or a matching donation fails to produce the desired results. In that case, Sanborn knows what happens.

The cutaneous T-cell lymphoma that is ravaging his body wins.

And Sanborn dies.

Basically, its my only hope, Sanborn said of the stem-cell transplant he has been left to hope for. If it works, Ill be cured. And if it doesnt, I wont be.

Sanborn, a 46-year-old career game warden who now serves as the deputy chief of the Maine Warden Service, remains optimistic. He is also realistic. And after several months of treatment, Sanborn has learned that his self-reliance always one of his attributes of which he was proudest may stand in the way of his recovery.

Thats why last Friday he was willing to say something he never thought hed say.

As people come up to me now, I look right at them and say, You know what? At this point, Ill take whatever help anyone is willing to give me, because I truly cannot do this alone, Sanborn said.

Sanborn wont have to fight the battle alone. His brother wardens have joined forces with the University of Maine football team to hold a stem cell donor drive on Wednesday. The wardens hope to find a matching donor for Sanborn; the drive itself could benefit patients around the world, as the results will be added to a database that serves those in need of a transplant.

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Finding stem cell donor match warden’s ‘only hope’ for fighting cancer