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Community raising funds for family of boy undergoing bone marrow transplant

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1.0 from 3 votes
Sunday, June 01, 2008

Karen Wells, a friend of Brian and Dawn Richards and their family, says many local organizations, businesses, groups and individuals have already come on board to lend their support to the family of 11-year-old Devon, who has been a patient at the IWK children`s hospital in Halifax from Sept. 26 up until this past Monday, when he was flown to Toronto for the operation.

The Sackville Legion has offered the use of their Lorne Street building for a benefit day/auction (set for Saturday, Nov. 3); Marshview Middle School - where Devon is a student - is holding several fundraisers; the Sackville Minor Hockey Association is planning a fundraising event for their hockey teammate; the Sackville Combines - a hockey team on which Devon`s dad Brian used to play - will be holding a benefit game in the near future; Sackville Auto & RV has donated a portion of a scooter raffle to the cause; donation bottles have been placed in several local businesses; and an account has been set up at the Sackville Royal Bank for personal donations.

"We just want to make sure the last thing they (Brian and Dawn) are worried about right now is their expenses," said Wells of the fundraising efforts.

"As their friends, the only thing we want them to be thinking about right now is their family and getting through this."

Wells explained that Devon, who came down with a severe nosebleed about two weeks ago that wouldn`t stop, was sent for blood tests later that same day and was checked for blood abnormalities.

Although the doctors initially suspected Devon had leukemia, that was soon ruled out and it was discovered he had an extremely rare disease called aplastic anemia.

Aplastic anemia is a condition where bone marrow does not produce sufficient new cells to replenish blood cells.

Treating aplastic anemia involves suppression of the immune system, sometimes achieved by daily medicine intake.

In more severe cases, a bone marrow transplant is required. The transplanted bone marrow replaces the failing bone marrow cells with new ones from a matching donor.

Devon`s brother and sister were both tested to see if they were matching candidates to donate healthy bone marrow and his three-year-old sister Morgan will be the donor.

Devon and his parents will stay in Toronto for up to two months (or possibly longer) following the transplant to ensure there is no rejection of the marrow or infections from the operation.

After that, Devon will return to the IWK to spend another four to six months there undergoing further treatments.

Wells said with the response she has been getting so far from the community, she is confident the Richards` won`t have a financial burden weighing them down as they go through this tough time.

"As their friends, that`s all we want, for them to have no financial worries."

Anyone wishing to make a donation to help the Richards` family can contact Wells at (506) 939-2239 or Jill Blakney at (506) 536-2206.

Copyright Transcontinental Nova Scotia Group Media Inc.

Author: By Katie Tower
Source: The Sackville Tribune Post
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1.0 from 3 votes
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