Warren woman gets Make-A-Wish trip to Australia

By William K. Alcorn



A young Warren woman fighting a lifelong battle with sickle cell anemia was awarded a trip to Australia, one of the wishes on her bucket list, through the efforts of Dr. Douglas H. Musser and the Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana Chapter.

The linchpin of making wishes happen for children and saving lives through donations is Spinal Element’s National “Pledge to Be a Hero” Charity Program, of which Dr. Musser, a spine surgeon with Youngstown Orthopaedic Associates in Canfield, is a program participant.

Dr. Musser is the first Ohio surgeon to participate in the program and establish a legacy of granting wishes to Youngstown-area children, said Spinal Elements.

Here is how it works.

At a ceremony Thursday at Youngstown Orthopaedic, Spinal Elements presented $15,000 to Make-A-Wish in return for Dr. Musser pledging to exclusively use only allograft tissue from companies that philanthropically apply the profits from the transfer of that tissue.

Allograft tissue is bone-graft material commonly used in spinal fusion surgery that comes from deceased donors via a tissue bank.

Spinal Elements has chosen to honor tissue donation as a gift-of-life by donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of its allograft, called Hero Allograft, to charities benefiting children with life-threatening medical conditions, such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a company spokesman said.

“I feel that simply by choosing to use Hero Allograft in my spinal operations and procedures, I double the impact,” Dr. Musser said. “I get to heal patients using superior medicine, and also support children suffering from some of the worst medical conditions.”

Thursday’s honorees were Dr. Musser and Auprelee Currie, 20, and her mother, Betheda Currie, who along with her husband, Eric Currie, accompanied their daughter on her dream trip.

Auprelee, 20, was 16 when first offered the Australia trip, but because of health problems, was unable to go until December 2017. Sickle cell anemia is a disease in which the body produces abnormally shaped red blood cells.

A graduate of Warren G. Harding High School, Auprelee is in the nursing program at the University of Akron.

She and her mother both were amazed by the Sea Life Aquarium and got to see kangaroos and lots of the country. She thanked Dr. Musser and Make-A-Wish “for my dream vacation.”

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