San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

December 23rd, 2010
Texas State student donates stem cells during holidays

122310wegnerTexas State sophomore Kelly Wegner will donate stem cells anonymously to a leukemia patient during her holiday break.

STAFF REPORT

Texas State sophomore Kelby Wegner scheduled her finals early this year so that she could donate stem cells to a cancer patient battling leukemia.

Wegner registered with the National Marrow Donor Program on campus after hearing an inspiring story in which a cancer patient was saved by an anonymous donor.

The registry procedure involves a simple cheek swab to collect DNA. The results are added to a computer listing of patients to check for matches. It is rare, even after registering, that a bone marrow match will be found between a patient and a donor.

The patient and the donor do not meet each other and remain strangers for life. The only thing Wegner knows about the patient is that he is a male who outweighs her so the donation procedure will have to be done twice.

“Without this process, the doctors say he has zero percent chance of living,” Wenger said. “Even with this, there’s no guarantee.”

The stem cell donation process that Wegner will go through during the holidays involves a series of shots and treatments to give her a surplus of the cells. The patient’s stem cells will be diminished so that the current cells will not fight the donated cells as foreign intruders. The cells are located in the bone marrow.

“He gets my stem cells; eventually they will assimilate: his blood will become my blood type; he’ll even be allergic to what I am—If he has a cat, that will be a sad day for him,” laughed Wenger

Wegner is having the procedure done at a hospital in her home town of Dallas, where she can be close to her family for both support and the holidays.

Wegner is a dean’s list business management student with a 3.9 grade average who is active in Campus Crusade for Christ.

“I’m pretty needle shy and afraid of things,” said Wegner. “I’m a Christian and the reason I’m doing this is that it’s the right thing to do. If it’s someone’s life on the line, I need to stand up and help get this done.”

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