DEPEW, N.Y. (WIVB)- Busy mom and grandma Nora Devero of Depew had no idea her fatigue in January was a sign of a serious disease; Leukemia.
In addition to lots of medicine and chemotherapy, Nora needs a bone marrow transplant to survive.
“I just think about my family and how I want to see everybody grow up,” Nora said.
But because her form of Leukemia is a rare one, matching has been a challenge.
Nora has Acute Myeloid Leukemia, or AML.
“Siblings only have a 25 percent chance of matching,” explained Transplant Nurse Coordinator at Roswell Park, Dana Cipolla.
“So if you only have one sibling, you only have a 25 percent shot of having that one sibling match you, so typically we will already start to look outside at the unrelated potential donor pool.”
Nora’s sister and two of her kids were half matches, but because she requires blood products regularly, Nora developed antibodies against those matches.
“You can have a patient that you run a search for and you have hundreds of donors for them and then you can run a search for a patient and you only have maybe a handful,” Cipolla said.
That was the case for Nora.
“When we got told that, that they had to find the bone marrow donor, I guess we just assumed that it would be plenty of donors out there, we’ll have several people to choose from. And then they came back and they told us we found one,” said Nora’s husband, John Devero.
“There’s many patients, there only hope for a cure is a bone marrow transplant and if that donor isn’t out there they can die from their disease,” Terrie Carbone, a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Roswell Park said.
Aside from living, Nora’s mission these past few months has been promoting bone marrow donation; not just for her, but for everyone else.
“Nora Strong” has become a mantra around the Devero house, and the Depew community. Even staff at Roswell are sporting the logo; a reminder to keep fighting, and keep your chin up.
“I think I’m going to get through this,” Nora said at her home in Depew.
“Nora Strong” is also a reminder to take an active role in keeping people alive by becoming a donor.
“Get out there, please just get out there, donate, register…. you could help save a life,” John said.