By Shelley Grieshop
A bone marrow drive held in Celina in May yielded a match for a Kalida woman awaiting a transplant.
Elaine M. Schimmoeller says she was excited when she received word that her older brother, Eugene, was determined to be a preliminary match.
"It was great news, especially when you consider there's only a 25 percent chance of matching a sibling," Schimmoeller says.
The 53-year-old was diagnosed in October 2004 with myelodysplastic syndrome, a bone marrow failure disease that doctors told her would morph into leukemia within three years.
A bone marrow transplant will likely be an option if current treatments fail, she says. She has gone through four cycles of chemotherapy so far. The bone marrow drive at Grace Missionary Church in Celina on May 31 was organized by friends and family members of Andy Kohlhorst of St. Marys. Kohlhorst, 46, was being treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia; sadly, he passed away May 27 just four days before the drive.
The Celina event brought 124 names to the National Bone Marrow database list.
One of Schimmoeller's family members spotted an article in the newspaper about the Celina drive one week before, and without hesitation five of them, including Eugene, came to Celina to sign up and be tested.
"I was getting so depressed at that time. I'd always worked and was so healthy, then I had to stop for a while because of the treatments," she says.
Schimmoeller says she hopes telling others about her match will show that the bone marrow drives are not just a "shot in the dark." They can produce results and save lives, she says.
"Now I have another option," she adds.