Regan Peel was excited to be starting her first day of second grade, but she hadnít been feeling well. Instead of taking her to school her mother, Phyllis Peel, took her to the doctor. After unsuccessfully trying various drugs over a period of days the doctor called for a blood test. When he came back into the room he was crying. AML. Regan had acute myeloid leukemia.

AML is usually an adult form of leukemia which has only about a 5 percent survival rate. Treatment began immediately at Cook Childrens Hospital in Fort Worth. Although the hospital used the latest protocol for treatment from St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital the disease got worse.

Reganís mother described the day the hospital told her Regan needed a bone marrow transplant to survive Ė at a cost of $200,000. Phyllisís husband, Kelly, is a Fort Worth police officer and that much money was totally out of reach. There was an option, though. St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital accepts a child who is eligible for one of their open clinical research studies. Reganís doctors were using a St. Jude treatment protocol that was not working and Regan qualified. St. Jude flew the family to Memphis and the process began.

St. Jude was started in 1962 by the late actor/singer Danny Thomas to find cures for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.†

St. Jude has developed protocols that have helped push overall survival rates for childhood cancers from less than 20 percent when the hospital opened in 1962 to 80 percent today.

For various reasons Regan could not receive a bone marrow transplant. However, St. Judeís research doctors had developed a new process called ďallogeneic stem cell transplantation.Ē In this process an exact donor is not required. Reganís father was a close enough match. He was given a drug to allow stem cells to be harvested from his blood instead of from a bone. The transplantation was successful and Regan was on the way to healing.

This quick story actually took a long period of time and during the process St. Jude supplied transportation, meals and housing for the family and treatment and schooling for Regan. There was never a charge to the Peels for anything.

This is important to you because Regan could have been your child or grandchild or even you. The daily operating cost for St. Jude is $1.8 million, which is primarily covered by public contributions.†

During the past five years, 81 cents of every dollar received has supported the research and treatment at St. Jude.†

The St. Jude webpage is www.stjude.org and there are many ways listed that you can help. No child has ever been charged for treatment at St. Jude but they need your help to continue.

Regan was at the Rotary Club meeting with her mother. She is a straight-A student at the top of her class and a very attractive young lady. She is cured and the only medication she takes is for allergies. She is very grateful to the donors to St. Jude

For more information about the Rotary Club of Waxahachie where we believe in Service above Self and doing things as a club we cannot do alone, visit the club website www.waxahachierotary.org .†

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