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Roswell Park reunion brings together transplant patients

"We're finding a new and vibrant kind of life."
Posted at 8:47 PM, Aug 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-11 14:52:40-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — "Today's a day for us to celebrate," said Dr. Philip McCarthy, the Director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program.

It's a family reunion, but for a different kind of blood.

"We're finding a new and vibrant kind of life," Sister Margaret Carney, a transplant patient, said.

Transplant and cellular therapy patients all met to reminisce and share. These are patients who have received a blood or marrow transplant.

"It really fills my heart with joy because I'm seeing people who I know are recent transplant patients and others who are walking up and saying, 'Hi, I'm 11 years. I'm 6 years. I'm 4 years," said Carney.

"I think it's important we do this for patients who are no longer here as well as celebrate the patients who have come this far," said Dr. McCarthy.

This treatment requires time and discipline. It takes months of chemo. Patients have to follow a strict regimen after to protect their imune system.

"Going through a really unusual treatment... it takes a lot of stanima," said Carney.

There's one man at the center of this family - Dr. McCarthy. He's much more than a doctor. He's a patient and a great friend.

Being a patient as well as being a care provider or physician, it gives you a lot of hope to see people like htis and also it's gratifying to see what people have come through and come out on the other end," said Dr. McCarthy.

But Sister Carney made sure to remind everyone that they're part of a bigger picture.

"I think we have to see ourselves as part of the search for the cure because our willingness to go through the treatments, to perhaps be part of a clinical trial, to have our data shared, all of that is contributing to a future where these cancers may be eliminated," Sister Carney said.

"In the long run, we hope it provides the patient with good quality of life and hopefully eradicates their cancer or at least controls it for an extended period of time," said Dr. McCarthy.

Roswell Park hopes to now have the funding to make this event annual.