July 15th, 2012. Day +492. Here’s a story about a woman named Erin.   9 comments

Charlotte took this picture of Erin!!

Meet Erin.  In January 2007 she was enjoying life in a big city on the east coast when she learned her mother Sherri, living on the west coast, was diagnosed with Lymphoma.  She was tested to find out if she was a match for her mother, whose treatment protocol would likely require a stem cell transplant.  Erin and the rest of her family were not a match.  Sherri was able to use her own stem cells for a transplant and did well.  Determined to help someone else out against the evil that is cancer, Erin entered herself into the Be The Match Bone Marrow Registry.

Fast forward 3 and a half years.  In September, 2010, a two year old girl from a small town in the midwest was diagnosed with a form of Acute Myeloid Leukemia.  Her doctors, being on top of their game, contacted the Bone Marrow Registry to find out if there were any possible matches for this little girl.  They weren’t sure if her treatment would involve a transplant, but wanted to know if there would be a donor in case it was recommended.

Also in September 2010, Erin was contacted by Be The Match, letting her know she was a possible match for a person who may need a transplant and wanted to find out if she was still interested.  She said “Yes”, and didn’t hear anything further for a few more months.

In late November 2010, the family of the little girl learned that the doctors wanted her to receive a stem cell transplant to give her the best chance of long term remission.  As expected, there were no matches found among her family members.  The doctors were hopeful, as they already had two possible good matches ready for further testing.  It wasn’t until the next month that the family heard that both of the first two donors declined to donate stem cells from their bone marrow, instead preferring to have cells harvested from their peripheral blood.  The little girl’s doctors wanted stem cells from the bone marrow, as it was preferred for AML, so the next two donors had already been contacted and agreed to donate by any method requested.  This meant she would have to undergo another round of chemotherapy to keep her leukemia at bay while further donors would have to be tested.  Her family was pretty heartbroken, but knew that things (even bad things) happen for a reason.

Erin received a call in December, asking her if she would be willing to have some more tests run, and in early January she received the news informing her that she was the preferred donor for a two year old girl with Acute Leukemia.  The harvest date was set for March 2nd (which changed to March 10th), and Erin would undergo several rounds of testing to make sure she was a healthy donor.  At this time, she decided to start a blog, documenting her own journey here:  http://ournumbereddays.blogspot.com/

I bet you know where all of this is going.  Could it be some strange coincidence that these two stories meet on Charlotte’s website?  Could it be two entirely unrelated stories, both magnificently summarized in just a couple of paragraphs?  Could Charlotte be the little girl?  Could Erin be her unrelated bone marrow donor?  Yeah, that was hard to figure out wasn’t it?

We heard from Erin a few weeks ago that she would be in Chicago this weekend on a work trip, and she was wondering if we might want to get together.  We didn’t think about it for more than a few seconds before we said “YES!”.  Erin invited her mother to come along since she was the inspiration for her to join the registry.  We also invited our parents and Grandma and Grandpa Elske and Grandma Wags came along for the fun.  Grandpa Wags stayed behind and watched Broadway because we didn’t think he (Grandpa/Broadway) would take too well to big city life…

Erin, Charlotte, and Sherri.

We stayed at the Fairmont Chicago and the girls loved it!  They loved our hotel, they loved our room, they loved the view.  A million games of “I spy” were played while looking out our 11th floor window. And Saturday night, when we were able to finally meet Erin and her mother, the girls loved them.  We had a wonderful Italian dinner at Bella Bachino’s then spent the rest of the night just walking the streets talking as if we had all known each other for years.  Charlotte was especially won over by Erin when she knew the words to Charlotte’s favorite Veggie Tales songs.  It was an emotional night.  It was just so great for us to show Erin how normal CJ is because of her.

We spent today with Erin and Sherri at the Shedd Aquarium and everyone had a great time!  Charlotte and Molly just loved all of the animals and things to see and do.  And as the morning grew into the afternoon,  Charlotte and Molly took to Erin like a fish to water.  It was a heartbreaking moment when we all had to say good-bye.  Erin still lives in Philadelphia,  Sherri in California, and us in the middle.  Who really knows when we’ll see each other next?  I’m thinking a road trip…Do you smell that?  Smells like cheesesteak…

Thank you Erin.  You may not think what you did was all that heroic, but I don’t know that I have the words to say it any other way.

Posted July 15, 2012 by L. Elske in Uncategorized

9 responses to “July 15th, 2012. Day +492. Here’s a story about a woman named Erin.

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  1. Sounds absolutely wonderful!!!! I’m so happy for all of you. Thank you, Erin!

  2. what an inspiration. And such a selfless act. Happy for all of you!

  3. Erin and Sherri are my very dear friends. I live in California, and let me tell you – you have a whole community of folks who love these two special ladies that now love your entire family. We have been praying for Charlotte ever since we heard of her. Before I knew her name, I prayed for “Erin’s girl”. We are so happy for you, and for Charlotte, and now for Erin and Sherri because they were able to meet all of you in person. God is good, and we are all in the same family through Him anyway. God bless you all, and I’m so happy for you that you had such an amazing weekend. Love Kim in CA

  4. How wonderful for you all to be able to meet face to face. What a blessing you all are to one another, so very happy for everyone!

  5. WOW! What an opportunity for you to meet and spend time with this one who is of tremendous importance to you all!! Got the copy of “Inspire” magazine, and it’s fabulous!! God be with you all!! Love you!!

  6. Love this post! It is amazing that you all got to meet and have truly come full circle! Erin now knows the little girl she saved and you have met Charlotte’s angel. What a precious blessing and a beautiful new relationship. Welcome to the Elske family Erin!

  7. Words just aren’t enough to say “thank you” to Erin. What a special person she has to be. There was a reason that the first two donors did not work out – Erin was the ONE! We are so happy for Charlotte (and her family) and now her “new” family. God surely looked out for Charlotte and chose such a wonderful donor! Much love. Auntie Sharon and Uncle Dean

    Uncle Dean and Auntie Sharon
  8. How awesome! Tears in my eyes for you all. How beautiful!

  9. Truly amazing how a coincidence transforms into a miracle!!! From this very same small town as little Miss Charlotte, we are so very happy for the good Lord and His loving angels; for you Erin, are His angel on earth! Thank you for your selfless act, thank you for your gift of hope, thank you for inspiring the hearts of many to help inspirations like beautiful Charlotte! God bless you all…

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