Fundraiser Resonates with Student Who Was Saved by the Nonprofit

post 153 photo

When CV Tech Chickasha nursing student, Shannon LaTray, first received her stage 4 cancer diagnosis in 2011, her goal was to see her youngest daughter start Pre-K. Thanks to Be the Match, she’s been able to see grandchildren born and attend nursing school, where she is now raising funds through HOSA for the very organization that saved her life.

Shannon’s Story in Her Own Words

In November of 2011, I was told I had cancer. It wasn’t until towards the end of December when I was told the type of cancer that I had. All I knew is that I was always sick and for months and no one could tell me why…but NOW, I had an answer. I was relieved, angry, and scared all at the same time. I was diagnosed with a type of Hodgkin’s disease, NLPHL. It was stage 4. My youngest daughter was just 3-and-a-half, and my goal at that time was to live long enough to see her start Pre-K.

You don’t realize how important the little things in life really are until you are told that you may only have a few months to live, at that moment LIFE has a whole new meaning.

I was determined to at least live long enough to take her to her first day of school. My oncologist placed me on the list for Be the Match when I was diagnosed. My entire family was tested to see if they had HLA markers to be matched with me. Unfortunatley, no one matched my profile closely enough to be safe for me to receive their stem cells. I continued infusions and sessions of radiation for the next two and a half years.

In March of 2014, I was informed that I had a match.

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was, and then I began to worry…what if they decide to not go through with it, how much longer can I withstand chemo and radiation. But my fears were eased when they told me “he’s in the process right now of having the stem cells extracted”. I think that day I cried harder than I ever had before. Finally, I have the chance to live…the opportunity to be here for my children.

I would spend the next 2 months in Medical City, Texas, going through the process of wiping out my entire immune system to receive his stem cells. I knew that there was a possibility of rejection, but these people work hard to find you the PERFECT MATCH. I have never met my donor, but was given some brief information about him. I know he is from the Netherlands and he was 19 at the time he donated his stem cells to me. I can never thank this brave young man enough for what he has done for me. He literally saved my life and has given me the chance to see grandchildren being born, my oldest daughter getting married, and the opportunity to be in nursing school.

The more people that are tested and placed on the list as a potential donor, the more opportunities others like myself will have the chance to continue their lives and keep living, and what a gift it is to be given that chance.

Currently, both our Chickasha and Cowan HOSA chapters are raising money for Be the Match. If a campus is able to raise $500, HOSA will award the chapter/campus with official recognition.

Cowan donations can be dropped off at the bookstore. Chickasha donations can be dropped off in building 400, room 404 or with Krista Cochran in the front office. Arrangements for larger donations to be picked up can be made in the Chickasha area by calling 405-222-7503. The fundraising deadline for both campuses is March 7, 2022.

If Shannon’s story has inspired you to become someone’s hero, please check out the donor process for Be The Match.


Share On
white logo