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A REAL Family "Get-Together!"

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Sisters Dobie Kirkpatrick, Veronica Hazen, Peach Dalton, Valerie Miller and Vikkie Rupe pose for a photograph. Dalton was diagnosed with breast cancer and lymphoma two years ago. Miller provided stem cells for Dalton's treatment. / Trevor Jones/Times Recorder

Written by
Holly Richards
Staff Writer

Peach Dalton is beyond grateful to have the blood of one of her sisters coursing through her veins.
It means she's alive, proud to be a cancer survivor, and proud of her family.
"I was out of options," Dalton said. "But this was a tremendous help, and now I have a new lease on life."
"Any of us would have done this," her sister Veronica Hazen said.
Dalton required stem cell transplants to combat cancer, and one out of her four sisters was a perfect match.
Her major health issues began after detecting a lump in her breast in December 2009. A January 2010 ultrasound lead to a breast cancer diagnosis, and a later sentinel lymph node biopsy revealed lymphoma.

She underwent chemotherapy and radiation until November 2010.
The breast cancer was determined to be the most invasive, so she immediately underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
She then received more chemotherapy to treat the lymphoma, and the next step was stem cell transplantation at Ohio State University Medical Center to further attack the lymphoma.
Her brother Vincent McGrail and four sisters -- Valerie Miller, Dobie Kirkpatrick, Veronica Hazen and Vikkie Rupe were tested for the stem cells. Two -- Miller and Rupe -- came back as matches, and Miller proved to be the closest match following more testing.
"They look for someone who's younger and has the least health problems," Dalton said. "They said they prefer male donors, but my brother wasn't a match. They were also surprised to find a family donor."

Beginning in late March 2011, Dalton spent about a month at the James Cancer Hospital to prepare for the transplant.
"On April 4 it took 22 minutes to transfuse six million stem cells," Dalton said. "To beat this, I've had to switch to her blood. Her good cells are fighting my bad cells to kill off the cancer cells, so now I have her blood circulating in my body."
She said the procedure was exactly like any other typical organ donation and transplant.
"I felt like a normal person," Miller said about her post-stem-cell donation. "I feel lucky and I'd do it again."
Dalton's had her ups and downs as the healthy cells work to overtake the toxic cells. It took her about a month to bounce back, but by July she returned to work part time and now she is back to full-time duties.

She also recently received a good report from her doctor about her successful remission.
This health scare solidified Dalton's already strong bond with her siblings. The family always has been close, especially after the death of their parents at a young age. All the sisters live near each other, and McGrail lives in the Columbus suburb of Delaware.
They continually rally together for family and community events, and they plan to participate in the 2012 Pelotonia bicycle ride for cancer research. McGrail has ridden in the event for three years in honor of the family's sister Violet, who died of cancer.
McGrail said the clan of six has been floored by community support throughout the past year, with several fundraising events to benefit Dalton including golf, running and poker run activities.
"It gave the community a way to show support," he said. "Peachie always knew we were there, but I think it also helped to have the community help her get through some dark days and let her know she's not alone."
Considering the meaning of the season, the family is thankful for the community and each other. To include everyone, a gathering of about 40 family members is scheduled in upcoming weeks to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as life itself for the loyal, fortunate clan.
Posted: 11/24/2011 12:48:58 PM by Don Margolis | with 0 comments
Filed under: Cancer, Lymphoma, Research, Stem Cells, Therapy, Treatment

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