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Editor's Column: Prairie Ridge helps CEO with bone marrow clinic

The medical system in which Danielle Lesmeister works is reaching out to help their new chief executive officer.

Lesmeister has been the CEO of Prairie Ridge Hospital and Health Services since January.

"She's been a blessing for our organization," said Missy Amundson of Prairie Ridge.

And now, it's Lesmeister who needs a blessing. Lesmeister's husband Casey is battling his second incident of leukemia. Doctors have identified a recessive gene in Casey which means he needs a bone marrow transplant for a chance to permanently beat the cancer. None of his closest family members are a bone marrow match. The Lesmeisters need a match from the public.

It's not often people may think of being a bone marrow donor. And it's not as if we can easily go to the Twin Cities or another location to learn if we can be a match for a person who needs a bone marrow transplant.

Prairie Ridge has decided to make it easier for the public to learn if they can be a bone marrow match for Casey Lesmeister.

The Prairie Ridge Clinic in Morris will have kits available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3.

Members of the public from ages 18 to 44 can stop at the Morris clinic at 24 E. 7th St. to complete an on-site screening and cheek swab. It will be conducted in the outpatient lobby. The swab and screen information will be sent to Be The Match organization for testing to see if anyone is a match for Lesmeister.

Prairie Ridge will also do the screening and swab from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 4, in the hospital community room at Elbow Lake, 1411 Minnesota Highway 79 E.

This region has a rich history of supporting those in need. We attend benefit meals, we donate cash and coins. We give blood. We donate in disasters. While 18-44 is the optimal age for bone marrow donations, those of us who are older could still be supportive. We may want to encourage our grandchild, college age friend or children to consider taking the cheek swab.

Amundson said the public may have some questions about bone marrow donations. She encouraged them to visit the Be The Match website at https://bethematch.org/.

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