Monday, December 26, 2011

So You Think You Can Donate?

Many of you have been asking how you can get tested to see if you're a match for Sam's transplant.  First off, thank you so much.  That's an incredible offer, and it would be a dream come true to discover one of our friends happens to be a perfect match!  We are deeply touched by your generosity.  Hopefully you'll find this information to be helpful.

Getting Tested
A perfect match for a stem cell transplant happens when a certain group of 5 genes (or 10 alleles) responsible for 'self-recognition' contain identical markers.  Testing requires a simple mouth swab.  There are two options for potential donors who want to help Sam.  You can get tested through the Nation Bone Marrow Registry, which is constantly being updated as Memorial Sloan-Kettering searches for his donor, or you could use a private service called Kashi Clinical Laboratories that will send you a kit and give its preliminary results to Sam's doctor directly.

In the first case, you would be joining a national donor bank and would be indicating a strong commitment to becoming a stem cell donor not only for Sam but for anyone else in need in the future.  In the second case, you would be tested to be a potential match for Sam and would not be joining a national registry.

Becoming a Donor
Sam will likely be receiving a peripheral blood stem cell transplant.  It involves the donor getting daily injections over five days of a drug that stimulates the release of stem cells into the bloodstream.  These blood-forming cells are extracted from the donor's blood in a process similar to a regular (though longer) platelet donation.  The side effects may include mild muscle aches from the injections which disappear shortly after the donation is complete.  If you're pregnant or breastfeeding you are not a candidate, though we certainly appreciate the offers!

If you make the decision to get tested, in order to be useful to Sam, the sooner you get started, the better.  It will take some time to get tested and analyze the results so we encourage fast action.  Below is some information on how to get tested.  Feel free to call or email with questions and please forward this on to any friends or family who may be interested.  

1) Kashi Laboratories
This is a private process.  You can request a test kit for $175.  When filling out the form you must note Sam's name (Sam Tripson) and his doctor's name and contact info.  

Dr. Matthew Matasar
1275 York Avenue
New York, NY 10065
Tel: 212-639-8889
Fax: 646-422-2291

2) The National Bone Marrow Registry
You can join the registry online for $52 by ordering a simple kit.  If you go this route and want to know if you are a match for Sam, please request your donor ID number and give it to us.  We can contact the people conducting the search at Sloan-Kettering and make sure the donor registry has been searched since your entry was added.

If you're in NYC or DC you can go to a National Marrow Donor Program office and be tested.  It costs $65.

33 East 33rd Street
Suite 501
New York, NY 10016

400 Seventh Street, Northwest
Suite 206

Again, thank you so much for all of the love and support.  How amazing it would be to know our donor!!  And, of course, this would qualify you for a lifetime of free baked goods!

Sunday, December 25, 2011


We wish all of our friends and family the happiest of holidays!  We're spending our holiday in Andy and Alison's apartment (no worries, we're still regularly picking up our mail at the other address).  I'm not sure how I'm ever going to get Sam and Jack to leave between the movie theater and fully stocked, luxury playroom!  It's a special treat for all of us.  Thank you so much to the Brettschneiders and all of our wonderful friends and family for everything you've done for us. 

Sam is feeling great!  We heard back from the lab and, unfortunately, neither Rob nor Charlotte are a match for the stem cell transplant.  They have found partial matches, but we really need a full match.  Please continue to pray not only for us, but for Sam's donor as well.  What an amazing gift they will be giving us!

Hope you all are having a wonderful holiday! And we actually did have a few gifts to open this morning.  A special thank you to our thoughtful friends who sent gifts for Jack, and Debby and Stacey for delivering a fabulous tree! 


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Last Round of Chemo

Sam is almost finished with his last round of chemo and feeling great!  It took a while to get him admitted, but since then it's been smooth sailing.  Having a private room has made a huge difference.  Thank you to everyone who played a part in making that happen.  And, again, thank you so much to all of our supporters.  A private room does not come cheap around here, and having that extra help has been amazing!  Sam is set to be released tomorrow, and we have an appointment with a transplant doctor on Tuesday.  We'll let you know how it goes.  We're still waiting to hear if Rob or Charlotte are good matches, but the preliminary search from the donor bank showed very promising results if we need to take that route.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside

Hello everyone!  Just wanted to check in and let you know we're all doing well.  Sam is having a great week and is feeling good.  We try to get out for walks every day, and he has officially lost all of his hair.  The weather has turned chilly, but we're more than prepared with tons of winter clothes thanks to all of our new city friends!  

Thank you for all of the wonderful mail we've been receiving.  If you missed our address, here it is again 205 East 76th Street Apt. 4 NY, NY 10021.  We LOVE hearing from you!  It seriously brightens our whole day.  Hope you are all well, and not stressing out too much during this holiday season.  When it comes right down to it a well decorated house, perfectly planned menu and small mountain of gifts are all pretty trivial.  In fact, we're not even doing gifts this year.  It honestly just seems a little silly to us.  We're grateful we get to be together in this beautiful city, and we can't think of a better way for Jack to spend his first holiday.   

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hospital Life

Sam's doing better today, and there's talk of him being released tomorrow.  His appetite is back and his platelet and hemoglobin counts are up.  Fingers crossed for no more nose bleeds or fevers!  Our thoughts are with the Soud and Morton families back in Florida tonight.  Lori was in a terrible car accident and is in the ICU at Shands.  Many, many prayers for healing and strength! 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sam's in the hospital

Sam's blood counts were low and he was sick and running a fever Wednesday night so he's been readmitted to the hospital.  He's been given platelets, antibiotics, blood and lots of hydration, and hopefully he'll be released within the next few days.  Thank you Alison and Kelly for bringing us a huge care package to make our hospital stay a bit more comfortable.  And a big thanks to everyone for all of the food, clothes and toys that have been sent over to the apartment.  You all have certainly helped to make us feel at home in this big city.  

Jack is doing fantastic.  He had his first NYC play date and made another new friend in Central Park yesterday.  And the owners of NY Kids Club and Little Maestros have graciously invited him to attend their baby classes free of charge!  Safe to say, Jack's having a ball up here, and his social calendar is filling up fast.

We miss everyone and were delighted to get some mail from back home.  Thank you so much for thinking of us, and please keep those letters coming!