John's life changed forever on March 12, 2019 with a diagnosis of BPDCN, an aggressive and rare cancer form originating in the bone marrow. He had been under surveillance by Tri-City hematologists/oncologists for MDS, a bone marrow disorder, for the past eight years, exhibiting low blood cell and platelet counts that were slowly decreasing with time. A day of testing and consultation at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in late September 2018 found no immediate cause for concern with the slow progress of MDS. This all changed rapidly beginning in December 2018 when puzzling, large red spots began to appear on John's face, arms, and legs. A bone marrow biopsy performed in early February 2019 displayed no apparent change to the MDS. But at Dawn's insistence, biopsies where taken of the mysterious skin spots and these returned the shocking diagnosis.
Through a fortunate series of connections made through close Tri-City friends, John and Dawn landed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minn just 6 days after the diagnosis for 5 days of rigorous testing and consultation with a foremost authority on his condition. This lead to a treatment pathway that was initiated as soon as was possible on Monday, March 25. The treatment pathway involves initial treatment of the deep skin malignancies with a new immunotherapy drug followed by a bone marrow transplant. John and Dawn will likely remain in Rochester continually for the next six months to carry out the challenging treatment program. They will be living at the Gift of Life Transplant House near the Mayo Clinic.
Please send well wishes or care packages to the following address:
Gift of Life Transplant House 724 2nd Street SW Rochester, MN 55902 Room #149 Attn: John & Dawn Zachara