Lisa had a lifestyle many people dream about. She and her husband, Jim, both worked for General Mills in Switzerland and were busy raising their son and twin daughters abroad. An active mom with a high travel job, Lisa skied in the Alps of Switzerland, hiked the mountains of Italy and enjoyed experiencing life around the world. Suddenly, everything fell apart. In June 2010, Lisa was diagnosed with Philadelphia chromosome (Ph) positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) – fast-growing cancer of a type of white blood cells called lymphocytes. Lisa, her husband and her Swiss medical team quickly created a treatment plan and, within two days, she started chemotherapy and a search for an unrelated marrow donor was launched (none of Lisa’s three siblings were a match).
Within a few months, Lisa and her family moved back to Minnesota and she continued her treatment at the Mayo Clinic where a matching donor was found through Be The Match Registry. On December 2, 2010, Lisa received her life-saving marrow transplant. The transplant was a success and a biopsy nine months later confirmed she was cancer-free. “There’s such a sense of relief once a donor is identified,” Lisa says. “It gives a patient the opportunity to move forward, to achieve the best chance for remission.”
Team MUD Blood
Less than a year after her diagnosis, in an effort to help others heal and to build her own stamina, Lisa organized a team for Be The Match Walk+Run. Her team, the MUD Bloods, which stands for Matched Unrelated Donor, was the top Minneapolis fundraising team in 2011 and 2013. Since 2011, they have raised more than $85,000 and more than 150 people have participated in Be The Match Walk+Run because of Lisa’s involvement.
This year, in honor of her five-year post-transplant anniversary, Lisa has decided to go all out. The MUD Blood’s goal is to raise $20,000 to bring their total fundraising efforts above $100,000. To make the anniversary even more special, Lisa has invited her marrow donor, Rike, a young woman from Germany, and her doctor, Mark Litzow, to cross the finish line with her on the day of the event.
Extending Her Impact
Lisa’s passion and involvement with Be The Match continues to grow. An outstanding ambassador for the organization, here are some of the many ways she has inspired others:
- Be The Match Twin Cities Leadership Council member
- Shared her story at the Atlanta Soiree and the Minneapolis Gala, where she met her donor for the first time.
- Spoke on behalf of the organization for corporate workplace giving campaigns and television interviews
- Hosts registry recruitment events through her connections at Georgia Tech, General Mills and elsewhere
This Women’s History Month, we’re thankful for all Lisa has done to support our life-saving mission!
If you’re interested in getting more involved with Be The Match, visit BeTheMatch.org/Support-the-Cause