Four-time cancer survivor seeks transplant

A young woman is looking for a match, not a Tinder match, but a bone marrow match.

A four-time cancer survivor is in need of a bone marrow transplant, as she enters her 5th round of cancer at age 21.

The only way to end Lizzie Tennyson’s cycle with cancer is to find a bone marrow match, but as a biracial woman, chances of finding a match is less than 14 percent, according to Be The Match.

Matching with Tennyson has nothing to do with type, it has everything to do with ethnicity.

Tennyson said she is in a race against the clock.

She has failed chemotherapy twice and exhausted other treatment options in her previous battles with cancer. Currently, she is undergoing Antibody Immunotherapy, which is a treatment for patients who have entered remission and getting ready for a transplant, but she has found no donor.

“My doctors haven’t said ‘oh you have three months to live’ because I am doing well, but the treatment that I am on right now is not meant to be a cure,” Tennyson said. “Since I don’t have a transplant, I don’t have that next step. The longest I can stay on the current treatment is six months and I’ve already knocked out three months of being on it. I’ve only got three more months until I either find a donor or find another treatment, which is going to be really difficult because we have exhausted most of our options.”

Tennyson is one of many biracial persons who have a harder time finding a donor.

“I cannot stress how important it is for minority and biracial people to get on the registry. It’s important for anyone to get on it, but the people we need in particular are biracial people and minorities,” Tennyson said. “Even if you don’t qualify to get on the registry because of health reasons, sharing the story with your friends and family is just as important.”

To get on the registry takes a simple heat swab and online registration (https://join.bethematch.org/s/landing?language=en_US&ref=swab4lizzie&refUrl=ENDREFURL). Or to help Tennyson directly text “Lizzie” to 61474. 

Tennyson graduated from Wimberley High School and is set to attend and graduate from the University of Texas in Austin with a computer engineering degree.

Comment on this Article

About Author

Comments are closed.