Niles resident battles leukemia, in need of bone marrow donor

Published 7:18 pm Thursday, October 17, 2013

Niles resident Lindsey Cloutier is one of more than 14,000 people nationwide in need of a bone marrow transplant.



Cloutier, an employee of Leader Publications, was diagnosed last month with a rare form of leukemia. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment in Chicago in an effort to get the disease into remission and her body ready for a transplant.

Of the 14,000 people waiting for a transplant, just half will find a matching donor. It’s a statistic that doesn’t sit well with Antonio Williams, regional donor recruiter for Delete Blood Cancer.

“While 50 percent of people will find a match and live on, you have that other 50 percent that will not,” he said. “No matter how you look at it, it’s a big chunk and a big, big thing we are trying to decrease.”

Delete Blood Cancer is an organization dedicated to fighting blood cancer by working with families, communities and organizations to recruit more bone marrow donors and provide more patients with a second chance at life.

Delete Blood Cancer is hosting a 5K walk/run and bone marrow drive in honor of Cloutier beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 26 at Brandywine High School, 1700 Bell Rd., Niles.

The funds from the race will help support Cloutier in her fight with leukemia.

Attendees will have the opportunity join the bone marrow registry, and, possibly, help save a life.

Williams said registering is easy and can be performed before or after the run.

It involves filling out a form and swabbing the inside of a person’s cheek to collect cells for tissue typing. Registered donors can be matched to any patient in need. If a match is found, the potential donor will be contacted and informed about the next step.

Williams said the chance of finding a matching donor is 1 in 1,000. For minorities, the chance is even lower as there is a lack of minority candidates on the bone marrow registry. African Americans, he said, make up just seven percent of the registry, while Hispanics make up one percent. Caucasians account for 67 percent of the registry.

Williams said a donor is more likely to find a match from someone of their own race.

“It’s important for people of all races to donate,” Williams said.

“Blood cancer is the one cancer you and I can do something about. You can give a piece of yourself to someone else, and give that person an opportunity to live a long and healthy life.”

At 30 years old Cloutier has battled leukemia three times, including at ages 16 and 19. She celebrated 10 years of remission on Aug. 27, but was diagnosed with leukemia two weeks later.

“Obviously it is sad, but I know I have to do what I have to do to get healthy,” she said. “I just want to get healthy. I am going to do what I need to do to get healthy.”

Cloutier said she is feeling good, but is tired from chemotherapy. She thanked everyone that has supported her through this tough time.

“That’s the most emotional part for me, seeing the overwhelming support from my friends and family and the community,” she said. “It brings me to tears on a daily basis. It’s not my treatment or my diagnosis that I cry about, it’s the fact that so many people care.”

Fighting for Lindsey

Below are events planned to benefit Lindsey’s fight against leukemia.
• Oct. 26 — Fright For Lindsey 5K Walk/Run and Bone Marrow Drive at 9 a.m. Brandywine High School. $20 cash registration. Zumba warm-up at 8:40 a.m. Bone marrow drive from 8-11 a.m.
• Nov. 13 — Amish Chicken Dinner Fundraiser at Olfactory Hue Bistro, Niles. Tickets available at Olfactory Hue by email or by phone 687-0880.
• Nov. 19 — Wings Etc., Niles. Bring in a coupon to get 10 percent of your food total donated to Lindsey. Coupons available to pick up or print out next week.
• Anytime — “Fighting for Lindsey” wristbands available at Shelton’s, Pizza Transit, Pure Rituals (Buchanan) for $1. For more information, visit the Facebook page dedicated to Lindsey’s fight by searching “Benefit for Lindsey Cloutier.”