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Chicago Mom of 4 Donates Bone Marrow to 7-Year-Old Boy She Doesn't Know. 'You Just Want to Protect Them.'


Published 07-31-20

Submitted by DKMS

Karen Leone is seen at her home on July 29, 2020, in Chicago. Leone donated her bone marrow in June to a 7-year-old boy with Hodgkin lymphoma. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)

Originally published by the Chicago Tribune

Months passed and the pandemic began. And then Leone, a lawyer and co-founder of a tech startup, received a call that she was a match for a 7-year-old boy who has Hodgkin lymphoma. She was asked if she was still willing to be a donor.

“I said, absolutely,” she said.

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More than 170,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with a blood cancer; it’s the second most common cause of death among all types of cancer. Only 30% of patients find a donor within their family.

People can register at to become a donor, which includes an eligibility and health screening, and a cheek swab. The need for African American donors is especially urgent. Sickle cell is most common among African Americans.

Register now to save a life!

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  • We create awareness of blood cancer diseases and treatments.
  • We recruit stem cell donors to give those in need of a stem cell donation a second chance at life.
  • We engage the public as well as companies to organize donor registration events.
  • We raise funds to increase both the size and diversity of the worldwide pool of available stem cell donors.
  • We help to improve blood cancer treatment – through our own research and state-of-the-art technology in our laboratory
  • We maintain our donor relationship from day one of registration until stem cell donation.

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