Over 500 Residents Swabbed to Find Shira Klein's Stem Cell Match

Sunday's Smiles4Shira event brought the community out in droves for a Marlboro mother fighting Hodgkins Lymphoma.

It was hard to miss the love and support for Marlboro mother Shira Klein as 587 people came to Dance Attitudes to find out if they would be the one to save Shira's life.

Klein, a Marlboro mother of three, has been battling Hodgkins Lymphoma since 2010. After several relapses after treatment, Klein is now looking for her stem cell donor as she undergoes another round of chemotherapy.

Hundreds of volunteers ran a five hour event at Dance Attitudes, and hundreds of people came to get their cheeks swabbed, the simple process to find a donor for anyone looking for a stem cell or bone marrow donor.

Special thanks to Dance Attitudes, all of the event's sponsors, all of the volunteers from DKMS and Smiles4Shira, and of course the Klein family.


How to hold a drive

Smiles4Shira has a team of volunteers ready to guide you through an easy and rewarding hosting gig.

If you are interested in holding a drive in the area, please email drives4shira@gmail.com with:

  • Name and contact of your driver leader
  • Date/Time
  • Location 

Upcoming New Jersey drives:

  • Oct. 13 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Arch Brow Bar in Shrewsbury
  • Oct. 13 at 11 a.m. at Korporate Kids Learning Center in Cedar Grove
  • Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Trinity Restaurant in Keyport
  • Oct. 14 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Dance Q in South Brunswick
  • Oct. 14 from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Marlboro Jewish Center
  • Oct. 21 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 2 Chicks With Chocolate in South River
  • Nov. 11 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the JCC in Scotch Plains


What it means to be a donor

Becoming a registered bone marrow or stem cell transplant donor is easy, and the donation process is not as painful as many believe, according to National Marrow Donor Program.

"You swab your cheek. If you are lucky enough to be someone's life saving donor the next step is as simple as giving blood,” said Krista Coppola, who saved donated stem cells to save her sister, Meghan Rizzo’s life, after a leukemia diagnosis. “Their hope and life is in the hands of those of you who are generous enough to save them."

The most common way to donate is through a procedure called Peripheral Blood Cell Donation, which means the donor does not undergo surgery but instead receives injections over just a few days to increase healthy cell production.

The donation is performed much like a transfusion, a simple procedure of sitting down and donating blood.

While PBCD is most common today, many people are familiar with marrow donation, where marrow is extracted from the hip bone of a donor, a procedure that has vastly improved over the years.

It is important to note that if called as a match, donors will not know the patient they are donating stem cells or marrow to until one year has passed. At that time, both parties may agree to meet.

jacqui klein October 09, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Thank you to all who showed support - The Dance Attitudes family providing the facility and many of our volunteers. Overwhelming numbers of friends, family and new friends who volunteered to help with the event and of course to those who came out to get swabbed - we sincerely appreciate your selfless act to help a member of our family and other patients in need.


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