Local boy seeks healthy bone marrow transplant
When John Klacking, a third grader at Lake Tahoe School, turns 9 this Friday, he’ll be hoping for a gift that cannot be packagd with pretty paper and ribbons.
He’ll be hoping for the gift of life. For Klacking, that means an ideal match for a bone marrow donor.
Two years ago, the youngster was diagnosed with childhood leukemia, and with help from family and friends, he was rushed to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. There he received treatment that eventually resulted in a remission of the disease.
The leukemia returned in August, however, throwing the family into the turmoil of additional treatment and at this point only one option – a bone marrow transplant.
Unfortunately, he has a rare type of marrow, so much so that even immediate family members are not compatible donors.
The Klackings turned to the National Marrow Donor Program for help, and with a nationwide search of several million registered donors, they still were not able to find a compatible donor.
The Incline Village boy has been confined to the Texas research hospital and its life-giving tubes since August, according to Jan Shines, one of his grandmothers.
“This week he got some relief – he was able to go out and stay in a nearby apartment with his family,” she said.
Saturday, he and his family went on a special outing, flying radio control model airplanes – a treat for the boy who has a knack for engineering.
In spite of a brief respite, the boy’s only remaining treatment option is a bone marrow transplant.
“John hasn’t been able to do everything he might have during the past two years,” Shines said.
She said he’s a boy who loves construction toys such as Legos and K’nex, and inventing things, and he’s also created some excellent art work.
“He loves animals and likes to know all he can about them,” she said. “He likes to read for information.”
He also enjoys watching Monster Garage on television, and he has participated in soccer and in baseball.
“He’s an excellent student, and likes to design mechanical things,” she said.
The odds may be long, but a 9-year-old’s life depends upon finding a compatible donor. A quick, painless finger stick blood test is used to screen potential donors.
The family encourages all who can to participate in the screening and become a part of the effort to save Klacking’s life. Anyone in reasonably good health between the ages of 18 and 60 is eligible to donate bone marrow. The screening requires a small tax-deductible contribution to cover laboratory fees. All who are tested will receive a coupon for a free pizza at Round Table Pizza.
Two opportunities to be tested for the bone-marrow bank:
1. Friday, Oct. 10, between noon and 6:30 p.m. at the Coral Reef Room of the Atlantis Hotel Casino, 3800 S. Virginia St., Reno.
2. Saturday, Oct. 11, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the cafeteria in the Incline Village Community Hospital, 880 Alder Ave., Incline Village.
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If Israel and the United Kingdom are any indication, widespread vaccination will knock the pandemic down to … normal life. Something near.