A “Black Out Cancer” benefit for Keller Beech Wilson will be held on Friday, Jan. 29 during the Peebles/ North Adams high school boys basketball game. Keller, the three year-old son of Kyle Wilson and Jennifer Beech of Peebles, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (A.L.L.) in early January. He recently underwent genetic testing which revealed that he has a rare type of A.L.L. called Hypodiploid. His mother posted the sad news on the family’s Keller’s Crusaders Facebook page.
“Life threw us a curve ball. Results came back from Keller’s genetic testing and doctors discovered he has a rare type of A.L.L called Hypodiploid, meaning he does not have enough chromosomes in his DNA. Unfortunately, this puts him in a very high risk category, thus changing his treatment plan. He will need to go through a few more months of extensive chemo and radiation, making sure to kill off everything before he receives a bone marrow transplant. Tough stuff, but just the reality we must face. We are in the best place we could be, with an excellent team of doctors who have made leaps and bounds in finding successful treatments for this crazy disease. We have a long road ahead of us, but with all the love and support of our family, friends, community, and even strangers, we are ready to face it head on! Thanks again for all of your prayers and loving energy. We feel it!”
Doctors will be reassessing Keller’s condition sometime in February to determine if he can return home for a visit before his bone marrow transplant is scheduled. Following the transplant he will be hospitalized for several months.
Community members planning to attend the game and benefit are being asked to wear black shirts to support the benefit’s “Black Out Cancer” theme. There will also be black “Keller Strong” t-shirts available for purchase in all sizes during the event.
Additionally, the North Adams and Peebles basketball players and cheerleaders will wear “Keller Strong” t-shirts provided by their schools’ Athletic Boosters Clubs.
The benefit will feature a live auction of basketballs signed by Keller and the Peebles and North Adams teams and cheerleaders, a 50/50 Raffle drawing, and a silent auction, which will be held in the cafetorium throughout the evening. A portion of all concessions sold will also be donated. All proceeds will go to Keller’s family. To donate auction items or purchase t-shirts, contact Carisa Kremin (937)-779-7648, Mandy Knechtly (937)470-3986, or Misty Arey (937)798-1733.
Those attending the game and benefit will also have the opportunity to participate in a “Be the Match” drive. The “Be the Match” team will be taking cheek swab samples from anyone interested in donating bone marrow to Keller.
For the thousands of people diagnosed every year with life-threatening blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, bone marrow transplants offer the cure. Over the past 25 years “Be The Match”, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, has managed the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world.
Doctors request donors in the 18 to 44 age group 90% of the time. Younger donors produce more and higher-quality cells than older donors. However, anyone between the ages of 18 and 60 can join the Be The Match Registry.
Matching donors and patients is much more complex than matching blood types. Doctors match donors to patients based on their human leukocyte antigen (HLA) tissue type. HLA are markers found on most cells in the human body. The immune system uses these markers to recognize which cells belong in your body and which do not. A close HLA match between donor and patient is the most important matching factor.
A patient’s doctor selects several potential donors whose HLA matches the patient at a basic level. The doctor then asks for additional testing to determine which donor most closely matches the patient.
If a patient has many matches, doctors will also consider other factors such as the donor’s age, gender, blood type, height and weight.
If you are chosen as the best match for a patient, the doctors will request that you donate either bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC).