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Girl's Marrow Transplant Off to Flying Start

December 17, 1987|Associated Press

SEATTLE — A 6-year-old girl was listed in good condition Wednesday after receiving an emergency bone-marrow transplant made possible by an official who ordered special snow plowing so the marrow could be flown out of Wisconsin.

The transplant for Brooke Ward of Raleigh, N.C., was the first from a match made by the National Bone Marrow Registry, officials said. It was established in September and lists 10,000 potential donors.

"She's fine. There were no complications," said Susan Edmonds, spokeswoman for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Suffered Serious Relapse

Brooke has suffered from acute leukemia for three years and recently suffered her third and most serious relapse. Doctors said she had little chance of survival without a marrow transplant.

Marrow from the girl's relatives did not match perfectly, officials said. Diane Walters, 49, of Milwaukee, was found to be a good match.

As a precaution, physicians removed extra marrow to be kept frozen if the original marrow could not be transported. Unfrozen marrow has a 36-hour life span, said Gayle Bass, supervisor of the bone marrow program at the Blood Center of Southeastern Wisconsin.

The marrow originally was to be flown Tuesday afternoon to Seattle, but heavy snow in Milwaukee canceled commercial flights.

Milwaukee County Executive William O'Donnell learned of Brooke's plight from his daughter, Bridget, a spokeswoman for the blood center. He ordered crews to clear a runway for a jet to take the marrow to Minneapolis to connect with a flight to Seattle. It arrived Tuesday night.

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