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Posted: May 4, 2013 5:49 p.m.

Community rallies to help sick baby

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With Jessica Wyatt’s recent news that her son, 10-month-old Lucas Cronan, may be suffering from juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia — a rare form of leukemia found in children under 2 years of age — the community has stepped up and taken action.

The Newton County Theme School, where Wyatt teaches, will have a bone marrow drive on Tuesday, May 14, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at 2207 Williams St., where organizers will be looking for a possible match for the bone marrow transplant that will be required for Lucas’ treatment.

“My friends and family have really taken control of making the community aware of what is going on. I know that they have Love for Lucas bracelets and a fundraiser website. The theme school is hosting a bone marrow drive for the community. This will not only help Lucas, but all the other Lucases out there…,” Wyatt said.

The procedure at the bone marrow drive will consist of a simple and painless swab of the inside the cheek. If a match is found, that person will be notified at a later date and asked to come and do additional testing to ensure that the match is the best.

If the match is accurate, the person can donate through an outpatient procedure.

Those ages 18–44 are chosen 90 percent of the time because research has shown that the cells of those who are younger are more successful when transplanted.

Not only will the donations help Lucas, but thousands of others whose lives are relying on a bone marrow transplant. The donation process is completely free and allows people to contribute even without putting forward money.

Doctors notified the family of Lucas’ possible prognosis in April 2013. He has always been a very happy and carefree child who can make just about anyone smile, so the news certainly came as a shock.

“It really has taken a little bit for it to sink in,” Wyatt said.

When Lindsay Wilson, a co-worker of Wyatt’s found out the news, she and a group of people decided to start up a fundraiser website at givetheforward.com for Lucas, to raise the money needed to cover the expensive hospital bills.

“This is important to us because it could happen to anyone. You never know when you, or someone you care for, could get the results back of a diagnosis that will change life as you know it. There is no known genetic predisposition; really, it could be anyone,” Wilson said.

So far, the family has been overwhelmed by the community’s generosity to help.

“The response to Lucas’ diagnosis has been, ‘How can we help?’ ‘What do you need me to do?’” Wilson said. “And boy, have they delivered! We have reached more than 50 percent of our goal of $5,000.”

The community continues to work together to help cure Lucas and maintain a ray of hope.

“My hope is that, through all of the trials this family will endure, they always know we all have their backs,” Wilson said. “I hope they get their happy ending. I know they will continue to pay it forward.”

Donations can be made at giveforward.com/fundraiser/r892/teamlucas. For more information on the donation procedures and for general information, visit bethematch.org.

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