Help save lives: Midlands family explains heart behind upcoming Marrowthon

Help save lives: Midlands family explains heart behind upcoming Marrowthon

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Every three minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer. But you may be the key to someone else's cure.

"We first found out about the registry when we found out that Kaylin had to have a bone marrow transplant," said Suzanne Kruse, a Lexington mom whose daughter, Kaylin Zimms, passed away last August of Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

But before Kaylin's initial diagnosis in 2015, Kruse says she didn't even know a bone marrow registry existed.

"I had no idea," said Kruse. "I didn't know anything about cancer before Kaylin got diagnosed."

But Kruse would quickly learn a bone marrow transplant was Kaylin's hope to survive. Something Kaylin understood, too.

When we talked to her during her treatments back in March of 2016, then 4-year-old Kaylin shared, "They gave me a couple of bone marrows which really makes my back sore. Because they do a bone marrow and a spinal tap 'cause the spinal tap hurts the most."

Kaylin ultimately had two bone marrow transplants. For many patients a bone marrow transplant can help cure blood cancer because it essentially gives a patient a new immune system. Doctors shared that Kaylin's form of AML unfortunately was extremely aggressive. While the transplants couldn't cure her cancer, it did give her family more time. Kaylin got to celebrate her 5th birthday with family and friends, a milestone she wasn't expected to make.

"We threw her a big blowout at her preschool which was her favorite place in the world," said Kruse. "We did a costume party and a photo booth and that would not have been possible without the transplant. That gave us time to get to the second one."

It was a gift given by two people Suzanne has never and may never get to meet.

"I would just thank them for giving us the time that we had with her," said Kruse. "Because from diagnosis to the point where they told us that there wasn't anything they could do, we had time to build memories and have peace."

It's why Suzanne is determined to make sure others know they can give another family that same gift.

"This is a good chance to let people know that this is one thing you can do to help, and it's one way you can be able to give them a chance to survive," said Kruse. "Because a lot of people hear these things and hear the facts-- and they don't have anything to do with the information and this is just a really good way to get involved and make a difference."

Suzanne and her mom, Mary Kruse, founded the nonprofit Kick It Kaylin in Kaylin's memory. Because September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and in Kaylin's memory, her family wanted to partner with Be The Match to help spread the word about the registry and how it can save lives.

To sign up, it's as simple as filling out a few forms and a few swabs of the cheek. You may have questions about what happens next? What's the process to donate like? Those are all questions we will answer over the next five weeks during our Friday Night Lights Marrowthon campaign.

WIS would love for you to join us this Friday at White Knoll High School at their game against North Augusta to sign-up.

If you can't make it but want to request a kit to sign-up, we've made it easy, click here.

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