How Do You Say 'Thank You' to Someone Who Saved Your Life?

More Than 1000 Bone Marrow Recipients Gather for City of Hope's

25th Anniversary Bone Marrow Transplantation Reunion



Apr 27, 2001, 01:00 ET from City of Hope Cancer Center

    LOS ANGELES, April 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Thousands of people gathered today
 in a "Celebration of Life" at City of Hope Cancer Center.  Along with
 physicians, family members and friends were many marrow donors and over 1,000
 former patients who defeated life-threatening diseases with bone marrow
 transplants.  Highlighting the event were the first-time meetings between two
 marrow donors and the people whose lives they saved.
     Tracy Schwartz is a young mother from Long Island who registered as a
 marrow donor when she saw another young mother in need of a bone marrow
 transplant pictured in her local paper.  Mrs. Schwartz was struck by the photo
 of the woman with her young children and wondered, "What would my children do
 without me?"  She knew the chances were slim that she would be the match the
 woman needed, and she was right, but several months later she was called with
 the news that she was a match for another young mother, this time from
 California.  Today, for the first time, Tracy got the chance to embrace the
 woman whose life she saved, Becky Campos of West Los Angeles.  "How do you say
 'thank you' to someone who saved your life, a stranger's life?  One simple
 'thank you' from me is inadequate.  My husband still has his wife, my son
 still has his mother, my father still has his daughter.  Tracy Schwartz has
 given me and my family countless years of love and laughter."
     The tears of joy shed by Tracy, Becky and their loved ones were a prelude
 to an even more dramatic introduction.  Early last year Brendan and Jessica
 LoCicero were shocked to learn that their infant son Jack was diagnosed with
 Hurler's Syndrome, a genetic disorder in which the body fails to produce a
 necessary enzyme.  Without a bone marrow transplant, their son would be
 severely impaired, and fail to live past the age of 10.  They are grateful to
 the physician who correctly diagnosed Jack's disease, grateful to the medical
 staff at City of Hope where Jack had his transplant, and grateful that Brad
 Benjamin is a hockey fan.
     One day, eight years ago, Brad Benjamin of Litchfield, New Hampshire, went
 to a marrow drive for a young hockey fan.  He was especially excited at the
 prospect of meeting his all-time favorite hockey player, Ray Bourque, and
 several other Boston Bruins.  He wore his autographed Bruins cap with pride,
 but forgot the blood sample he gave that day, until he was reminded in a
 telephone call seven years later.  Was he willing to undergo further testing?
     Brad agreed, and drove to Boston (on the day the Bruins announced they
 traded Ray Bourque to the Colorado Avalanche) for the tests and the bone
 marrow harvest that followed.  He was sore afterwards, but sure he had done
 the right thing, and has encouraged others to register as potential marrow
 donors as well.  When reporters asked why he had agreed to be a donor, Brad
 Benjamin couldn't choke back his tears.  "My brothers and sisters have kids,"
 he sobbed.  "How could I not help someone else's child?"
     Jack's father, Brendan LoCicero, spoke for the family when he attempted to
 tell Brad how grateful they were:  "I can't even begin to tell you how much we
 appreciate him.  The results of what he has done are evident if you just take
 one look at Jack."
     "As a physician, my medical knowledge can take a patient only so far,"
 adds Stephen J. Forman, MD, Chair of the Division of Hematology/Bone Marrow
 Transplantation at City of Hope Cancer Center.  "Without the contributions of
 folks like Tracy Schwartz and Brad Benjamin we would have been unable to help
 thousands of people who are alive today because of the generosity of unrelated
 donors."
 
     City of Hope is one of the world's leading research and treatment centers
 for cancer and other life-threatening diseases, including diabetes and
 HIV/AIDS.  A pioneer in the field of BMT, City of Hope is a National Cancer
 Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.  To learn more about City of
 Hope, visit our web site at www.cityofhope.org.  City of Hope ... where the
 power of knowledge saves lives.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X49745650
 
 

SOURCE City of Hope Cancer Center
    LOS ANGELES, April 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Thousands of people gathered today
 in a "Celebration of Life" at City of Hope Cancer Center.  Along with
 physicians, family members and friends were many marrow donors and over 1,000
 former patients who defeated life-threatening diseases with bone marrow
 transplants.  Highlighting the event were the first-time meetings between two
 marrow donors and the people whose lives they saved.
     Tracy Schwartz is a young mother from Long Island who registered as a
 marrow donor when she saw another young mother in need of a bone marrow
 transplant pictured in her local paper.  Mrs. Schwartz was struck by the photo
 of the woman with her young children and wondered, "What would my children do
 without me?"  She knew the chances were slim that she would be the match the
 woman needed, and she was right, but several months later she was called with
 the news that she was a match for another young mother, this time from
 California.  Today, for the first time, Tracy got the chance to embrace the
 woman whose life she saved, Becky Campos of West Los Angeles.  "How do you say
 'thank you' to someone who saved your life, a stranger's life?  One simple
 'thank you' from me is inadequate.  My husband still has his wife, my son
 still has his mother, my father still has his daughter.  Tracy Schwartz has
 given me and my family countless years of love and laughter."
     The tears of joy shed by Tracy, Becky and their loved ones were a prelude
 to an even more dramatic introduction.  Early last year Brendan and Jessica
 LoCicero were shocked to learn that their infant son Jack was diagnosed with
 Hurler's Syndrome, a genetic disorder in which the body fails to produce a
 necessary enzyme.  Without a bone marrow transplant, their son would be
 severely impaired, and fail to live past the age of 10.  They are grateful to
 the physician who correctly diagnosed Jack's disease, grateful to the medical
 staff at City of Hope where Jack had his transplant, and grateful that Brad
 Benjamin is a hockey fan.
     One day, eight years ago, Brad Benjamin of Litchfield, New Hampshire, went
 to a marrow drive for a young hockey fan.  He was especially excited at the
 prospect of meeting his all-time favorite hockey player, Ray Bourque, and
 several other Boston Bruins.  He wore his autographed Bruins cap with pride,
 but forgot the blood sample he gave that day, until he was reminded in a
 telephone call seven years later.  Was he willing to undergo further testing?
     Brad agreed, and drove to Boston (on the day the Bruins announced they
 traded Ray Bourque to the Colorado Avalanche) for the tests and the bone
 marrow harvest that followed.  He was sore afterwards, but sure he had done
 the right thing, and has encouraged others to register as potential marrow
 donors as well.  When reporters asked why he had agreed to be a donor, Brad
 Benjamin couldn't choke back his tears.  "My brothers and sisters have kids,"
 he sobbed.  "How could I not help someone else's child?"
     Jack's father, Brendan LoCicero, spoke for the family when he attempted to
 tell Brad how grateful they were:  "I can't even begin to tell you how much we
 appreciate him.  The results of what he has done are evident if you just take
 one look at Jack."
     "As a physician, my medical knowledge can take a patient only so far,"
 adds Stephen J. Forman, MD, Chair of the Division of Hematology/Bone Marrow
 Transplantation at City of Hope Cancer Center.  "Without the contributions of
 folks like Tracy Schwartz and Brad Benjamin we would have been unable to help
 thousands of people who are alive today because of the generosity of unrelated
 donors."
 
     City of Hope is one of the world's leading research and treatment centers
 for cancer and other life-threatening diseases, including diabetes and
 HIV/AIDS.  A pioneer in the field of BMT, City of Hope is a National Cancer
 Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.  To learn more about City of
 Hope, visit our web site at www.cityofhope.org.  City of Hope ... where the
 power of knowledge saves lives.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X49745650
 
 SOURCE  City of Hope Cancer Center