PANAMA CITY — A local woman and mother of two is preparing to receive a bone marrow transplant just three months after being diagnosed with an acute form of leukemia.
Three months ago Kristy Nolan went to a doctor’s visit for a typical check-up with no idea that she was actually facing a life-threatening disease.
“I thought I had a severe case of strep throat, but after he ran the blood work, he came back and told me I had leukemia,” Nolan said. “They put me in an ambulance and took me to Shands Hospital in Gainesville.”
Nolan, 29, a graduate of Bay High School, was diagnosed with a form of leukemia called acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).
According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) website, AML is a cancer of the bone marrow and the blood and it affects mostly cells that aren’t fully developed. These cells can’t carry out their normal functions. That’s one reason why it’s important to get care and treatment as soon as possible, the website states.
Beatrice Abetti, information specialist at LLS, said AML is not typically diagnosed in young adults.
“Its one of the two acute leukemias that strikes primarily older adults,” Abetti said. “AML represents a little less than 30 percent of leukemia patients.”
Nolan spent five weeks at Shands, but when she returned home she still had leukemia and was not in remission.
After the first time she was admitted, a daily fight with cancer ensued.
“I had to get more chemo and stronger chemo,” she said. “I lost my hair. I’ve had to move in with family, and I lost my job,” Nolan said.
Previously, Nolan had worked as a property manager at Sun Bird Condos for Oasis Resorts.
Nolan was released from Shands on July 30. The bone marrow transplant is the thing that will keep her in remission for the longest time, she said.
From the time she was diagnosed, she got busy learning about her disease and searching for a donor.
“I began to post on social media websites and on Bethematch.org,” Nolan said.
Two weeks ago, Bethematch.org found a 100 percent perfect match for Nolan.
However, Nolan learned Thursday that the matching donor decided to no longer make the donation.
“My transplant has been pushed back to Oct. 5,” Nolan said. “This is the second donor to back out. No reason given.”
Depending on the patient and possible complications, it may take about a year for her to fully recover, officials from LLS said.
A small group of Nolan’s friends and family members started a foundation called Kristy Nolan Leukemia Foundation to educate others about her form of leukemia and to raise money to help offset the impact of her illness on her finances, the group said.
Medicaid covers her medical bills, including her first medical bill of more than $400,000, she said. But being unable to work has left her in need of financial help for living expenses.
The foundation wants to help her with those expenses, as well as to raise awareness of AML support, the group said.
“This is what she wants” Michelle Gautreaux, one of the founders of the foundation said. “Kristy is very fun, loving, and giving, and a sweet and wonderful mom and friend.”
Geatreaux met Nolan through mutual friends. They both have two children who would go on play-dates together, she added.
The foundation is holding its first event called Kristy Nolan Leukemia Foundation 5k Fun Run/Walk and Silent Auction on Saturday at 8 a.m. at Frank Brown Park.
Items from Elevation Salon, Bone Fish Grill and Dance Life Studio will be auctioned, Geatreaux added. An after party will be held at Hofsbrau at Pier Park.
WANT TO GO?
-What: Kristy Nolan Leukemia Foundation 5k Fun Run and Silent Auction
-When: 8 a.m. Saturday
-Where: Frank Brown Park
-Why: To help raise awareness about AML and help with Kristy Nolan’s living expenses
-Details: go to active.com, click on Kristy Nolan Leukemia Foundation 5k or contact Michelle Gautreaux at 850-381-3989
Article source: http://www.newsherald.com/news/city-105001-leukemia-mother.html