My aunt, Kay Landau, a former Amherst resident, recently suffered from a life-threatening disease. You would never guess by her bubbly personality and positive attitude that she is a cancer patient who is currently in remission following a battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
Because of her healthy lifestyle, it came as a great surprise when last year she was diagnosed with this blood cancer. “It’s not like it just happens to those that let themselves go,” said Landau. “It happens to young people. It happens to 2-year-old kids! What did they do to deserve this?”
Her disease is fairly rare in adults and comes on suddenly. “There was no warning at all. I was perfectly fine. But then the blood work came back and it was just awful,” Landau recalls of discovering the culprit of her ongoing lethargy and slew of common illnesses.
After chemo- and radiation therapy, evidence of the disease remained. Her body needed more than traditional medicine could offer. She was approached by her doctor to participate in a trial experiment using stem cells to guide her body into remission, and she agreed. Blood-matching attempts from her two siblings failed, so Landau was put on a donor list. She secured stem cells from an anonymous donor and received a transplant in December 2011.
Editor’s note: Anne Guthrie lives in La Crescent, Minn., and has been writing about her aunt to provide more information about the topic of stem cell research. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.