Many patients with life-threatening diseases who need a stem cell transplant don’t have a matched related donor — a family member with the same tissue type who can contribute stem cells. For years, I’ve matched these patients with unrelated donors. These selfless volunteers are willing to undergo procedures like a bone marrow surgical harvest and growth factor stimulation in order to help people they will likely never meet. Donors from around the U.S. and all over the world take time away from their work and their families to give their cells to strangers in need. There’s this whole altruistic side to humanity that transplant sits right in the middle of, and that’s truly inspiring.
One of the aspects of my job that I enjoy most is helping people prepare for the transplant process. A stem cell transplant is a complex treatment; knowledge and understanding of what’s to come helps patients and families gather the resources that will sustain them throughout this journey. While I think it’s important to be realistic about the challenges that may lie ahead, it’s also critical to approach transplant with optimism. I always try to bring patients and families hope.
Blood cancers, non-malignant blood disorders, allogenic transplantation
I am a physician assistant with more than 25 years of experience in allogenic stem cell transplantation. This type of transplant involves collecting stem cells from a donor and infusing them into a patient with the goal of eradicating their disease. My background includes providing inpatient and outpatient care for those receiving transplants as well as matching patients with unrelated donors. Currently, I focus on coordinating the transplant intake process. In this role, I collaborate with patients and families, sharing what to expect and helping them prepare for their transplant experience. I also consult with referring physicians, hospital and clinic staff, and donor search coordinators. In addition, I sit on SCCA’s Standard Practice Committee, which reviews and implements the standards for stem cell transplant care.
We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by Fred Hutch doctors. Many of these trials at Fred Hutch have led to FDA-approved treatments and have improved standards of care globally. Together, you and your doctor can decide if a study is right for you.
At Fred Hutch, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes doctors, a patient care coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like nutritionists, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders.
Fred Hutch accepts most national private health insurance plans as well as Medicare. We also accept Medicaid for people from Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. We are working to ensure that everyone, no matter what their financial situation, has access to the care they need.