Finding a donor in the area could be a local man's second chance at life.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- A township man who has persevered despite several health challenges is appealing to the local public to help him overcome his most recent challenge: acute myelogenous leukemia.
Leukemia is an acute or chronic disease characterized by an abnormal increase in the number of white blood cells in the tissue. The body may then produce too few red blood cells and platelets, which could cause less oxygen to reach various parts of the body and insufficient blood clotting.
Alan Mike, the 20-year-old son of Alan and Charmaine Mike, is a native of Boardman and graduate of Boardman High School. While in high school, he played football and was designated All Steel Valley. He also maintained a high grade point average.
Just after graduating, Mike learned he had leukemia. He was treated and it went into remission, allowing the family to carry on with daily life, his father said.
Needs transplant: He is now a Youngstown State University student majoring in pre-medical studies, and his leukemia has recurred. He is in need of a bone marrow transplant. The family tried siblings and a list of other relatives, with no success in finding a suitable match.
They next checked with a national registry of possible donors -- still no luck. Alan Mike Sr. noted his son has a rare type of tissue that cannot be matched easily.
"Right now we don't know what we are facing with this," said Mike Sr.
Mike Sr. said possible matches range in ratings from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best match. So far they have only been able to find matches in the 2 or 3 range.
Mike's physician does not want to go forward with a transplant unless there is a match of at least 6 or better. So the family is asking area residents between 18 and 60 years old to have their blood tested from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 19 at St. Maron's Church on Meridian Road, Austintown. Finding a donor in the area, they say, could be Mike Jr.'s second chance at life.
Blood test: Charmaine Mike said it is important that people understand that the procedure for testing is a simple blood draw from which physicians can look for possible matches.
Charmaine Mike said that until a donor is found, the family deals with the situation as best it can.
"We take it day by day that is all I can say," said Charmaine Mike. "Any family that has had anything happen to them out of the normal realm, whether it be cancer or a car accident, can only cope with it and take it day by day."
Monetary contributions can be made at any of the area Metropolitan Banks in the name of Alan J. Mike.