Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia (WM) is a devastating form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Specifically, this cancer starts in the B cells of the body (B lymphocytes). Waldenstrom’s cancer cells are capable of making huge amounts of antibody called immunoglobulin M, or IgM, which are proteins called macroglobulins.
The buildup of this M protein in the body leads to many of the symptoms of Waldenstrom’s. For example, excess bleeding, problems with vision, and nervous system problems may occur. To learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments for Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia, click here.
As of now, this rare form of cancer is incurable. However, there are treatment options available for patients, such as chemotherapy and radiation, or, like in the case of Exeter native John Gould, who was diagnosed with Waldenstrom’s in 2008, some patients are able to find bone marrow donors as a last resort.
Gould found a bone marrow donor match from a 19-year-old high school student in Germany named Sebastian Obermeier after eight rounds of unsuccessful chemotherapy for his WM.
A touching story, published recently by South Western Ontario, explained that John Gould actually reached back out to Sebastian after it struck him that he would not have been at his daughter’s wedding if not for Sebastian’s compassion and generosity. John flew Sebastian to his hometown to stay with him and his wife, and the two have since become pretty good friends.
They are planning to reconvene again in Vancouver, and Obermeier explains that if there are any more problems with Gould, he can be there to donate again. But, as of right now, Gould is still in remission, and John will forever be a part of his life.
To learn more about this success story, as well as a new awareness campaign that originated from John Gould’s story, click here.