YBD Holding Bone Marrow Drive For Former Downers Grove North Student

Yoga by Degrees is hosting a bone marrow registry drive from 10 AM to 4 PM Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 10 – 11, at two of Yoga by Degrees’ studios, 54 Ogden Ave., Downers Grove and at 914 Roosevelt Rd., Glen Ellyn and encourages anyone between the ages of 18 to 44 to attend and take part the quick registration process. All it takes is a quick cheek swab to be placed on the Be The Match Registry and find out if you could be a match for Cara Pagels or somebody else.

carapic7Cara grew up in Downers Grove and attended Downers Grove High School. After high school she set out to attend college and ended up going to DePaul University. Cara worked at Sawbuck Productions, helping to create and disseminate multimedia materials concerning matters of public health, poverty, substance use/abuse, and other social concerns, such as inequality and racism.

Meanwhile she landed a job at the South Korean Government run, English Program In Korea (EPIK). Cara was enjoying her life abroad until one day all of that changed.

“In my third year of living abroad in South Korea, the life I love came to a halt. Out of nowhere, my ankles bruised and swelled up! I was absolutely exhausted by simple everyday tasks such as cooking or even walking 15 minutes. What has been a whirlwind month, I moved back to Chicago and I’m preparing for treatment.” Said Cara

After several blood tests and a bone marrow biopsy Cara was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia, a rare bone marrow failure disease. A bone marrow transplant may cure Cara of this life-threatening disease. Unfortunately, her three siblings are not matches, so the transplant will need to come from a donor that is on a donor registry called the “Be The Match Registry”.

Loukia Mastrodimos is a friend of Cara’s. She is currently a yoga teacher at Yoga by Degrees, but she used to work at Downers Grove North, where she met Cara. She reached out to the studio managers for help.

“When I learned that Cara was ill, I immediately wanted to do something to help her. Every teacher has a ‘Cara’ in class. The student who engages with you, takes an interest in your subject, and shows kindness and compassion to her fellow students. We’ve kept in contact since she graduated 8 years ago and news of her illness broke my heart. As a teacher, our students are always our students, no matter how old, and we instinctively want to help them. That’s how I feel about Cara.” Said Loukia.

Be The Match Registry Program has been helping patients receive life-saving transplants. They depend on Be The Match to find a match to save their life. A simple cheek swab is all that is needed to determine if you could be a match for Cara or someone else. The power to change lives is in your hands.

According to the Be The Match Registry: “Bone marrow transplantation has been a life-saving therapy for more than 30 years and for many patients, offers the only cure. Thanks to our dedicated researchers, bone marrow transplant has evolved from a new procedure to standard treatment for many life-threatening diseases. Today’s researchers are improving transplantation to increase survival, reduce complications, and possibly treat more diseases.”

Research has already delivered results. Over the past five years, the one-year survival rate for unrelated donor transplants has increased from 42% to 60%, a rate that is now comparable to that of transplants with a family member donor. Survival rates are also higher for many patients, as many now receive transplants earlier in the course of their disease. Research has shown that this improves survival outcomes.

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