Stem cell donor clinic planned for 4-year-old battling leukemia again

Paul Herron and Anne Hodgkinson wake up every day knowing their daughter could die.

Their 4-year-old, Katie, has cancer, and for the second time in her young life she is fighting to stay alive.

Shes scared. Shes terrified, Herron told the Star from Torontos Ronald McDonald House, where the Cambridge family is currently staying so Katie can get treatment at the Hospital for Sick Children.

For Anne and I, its been a parents worst nightmare.

When Katie was just 15 months old, she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. But after 25 months of intensive treatment, including lumbar punctures, bone marrow aspirations, chemotherapy and steroids, Katie fought the cancer into remission.

Finally, the family thought, they could say goodbye to hospital beds and the hours spent pacing hallways waiting for results. Finally, they could be normal.

But last November, the life they had built for themselves crumbled once again. The cancer was back, and this time Katie would need a stem cell donor.

The first time, we never made it public. We kept to ourselves, said Herron. But because this time she needs a stem cell donation, we had to get the word out.

No one in the family is a match, and the national registry has yet to turn up a name. This Saturday, Katies supporters will host a stem cell donor clinic at the Cambridge Sports Park from 1 to 5 p.m. All thats required for testing is a cheek swab.

(Stem cells are collected from a matching donors bone marrow or blood after the donor has given informed consent and undergone medical tests to encourage good health and compatibility.)

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Stem cell donor clinic planned for 4-year-old battling leukemia again

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