Senior Events



Community News 02-25-04

Hoping for the
kindness of strangers

Amy Katz

By Kitty Lagorio

Most 11 year olds have concerns and issues around family, friends and school.
Amy Katz of Mt. Lebanon is like those kids. She wants to hit the right notes on her trumpet, she wants to do well in school and she wants to play soccer. She wants to tease and love her sisters Jenny, 13, and Katie, 8.
But last fall, Amy had knee pain. The doctors didn’t find anything at first, but a third visit to the orthopedic doctor ended up in a hurried trip to Children Hospital’s emergency room. There, Michael Katz and his daughter were met by an oncologist and hematologist.
Amy didn’t have growing pains. Amy is waging a colossal battle against chronic myelogenous leukemia. She even has an ‘Amy’s Army’ of friends and neighbors working for her.
She has the latest chemotherapy but still, she needs more. She needs the right donor to provide the stem cells that could save her life. According to her mom, Lisa Katz, “Amy is responding well to Gleevec. It’s chemo given orally. Most chemotherapy attacks fast-growing cells, like hair cells, but this only attacks abnormal fast-growing cells.”
So Amy still has her hair. The problem is the promise of the drug is just that, a promise, not a certainty.
“The reason she needs the stem cell transplant is because she has an adult form of leukemia,” Mrs. Katz explained. “While initial results look good, they don’t know for certain. But what they do know is that bone marrow is a cure for her type of cancer.”
That’s why a drive is being held for potential donors. What the screeners are looking for is a tissue match. To find out if someone is a potential donor only a small amount of blood is required.
For those who prefer not to give blood, a cheek-swab kit can be requested. The sample will be analyzed. The lab will be looking for the Human Leukocyte Antigen Tissue Type. If there’s a match, that person will be contacted.
If someone is asked to donate, it won’t cost money, just a little marrow. The procedure takes between 45 to 90 minutes. A donor should be between the ages of 18 and 60 and in good health. Blood type doesn’t matter and a person can donate even if they’ve been prevented from giving in the past.
Lisa Katz would like people to think about this, “3,000 people a day search for a bone marrow donor.
Thirty percent of those searching will find a match in their family. The other 70 percent must depend on the kindness of strangers. A stranger could save Amy’s life.”
For more information about Amy and Amy’s Army, go to www.amysarmy.org. If you aren’t able to attend on the day of the drive, there are other ways of helping listed at the site.

Amy’s Donor Recruitment Drive

• Sunday, Feb. 29
• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Temple Emanuel of South Hills
   1250 Bower Hill Road, Mt. Lebanon
• If you are between 18 and 60 and in good
   health, you can be a donor.
• Donors give only a small blood sample that
   will be tested for tissue type.
• Blood type doesn’t matter.
• For information, call 1-877-Aid-4-Amy.