"I know I'm Going to Cry"
MAYWOOD, Il. -- Rosalind Beard owes her life to a stranger, who volunteered to be a donor for her life-saving bone marrow transplant.
On Sunday, Oct. 4, Beard will meet her donor, Tim Crawford, for the first time. The meeting will occur at Loyola University Medical Center, where Beard underwent a successful bone marrow transplant for Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"I really want to meet him and thank him and tell him how much I appreciate what he did," Beard said. "I know I'm going to cry."
They will meet at the 21st annual Bone Marrow Transplant Celebration at Loyola's Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center. Loyola has the largest bone marrow transplantation program in Illinois.
"Tim is a hero, like the fireman who pulls a person out of a burning building," said Dr. Patrick Stiff, director of the Cancer Center. "Because he donated his cells, Rosalind is alive today."
Beard, 37, of suburban Melrose Park, was diagnosed and initially treated in 2000. After relapsing, she underwent her first bone marrow transplant, with her own stem cells. After relapsing a second time, she underwent a second transplant, using cells donated by Crawford, who lives in Adairsville, Ga.
Beard received high-dose chemotherapy to kill cancer cells. Because the treatment also killed her immune system cells, Beard received an infusion of Crawford's bone marrow cells. These donated cells developed into healthy new immune system cells.
Beard spent about three months in the hospital, and experienced many complications and side effects.
"She's a fighter. She did great," said Beard's physician, Dr. Tulio Rodriguez. "There was never a time when she wanted to give up."
Crawford, 40, is among the more than 11 million potential donors who have registered with the National Marrow Donor Program. He was the closest available match to Beard.
Crawford heard about the marrow donor program through his church. His mother had died at an early age from cancer, and he wanted to help another family if he could.
Crawford required anesthesia for the bone marrow donation. A doctor inserted a needle in the back of his pelvis and drew out marrow. He spent a night in the hospital, and was sore for a week.
"But now that I know that everything worked out, it was worth it," he said.