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Friends, kin rally for Darren after setback
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Friends, kin rally for Darren after setback

Transplant rejected, leukemia patient needs additional treatment

Staff Writer, New Jersey Jewish News

One year after his diagnosis, and after what seemed like a successful bone marrow transplant in June, Darren Lederman of Westfield learned that his leukemia is back. 

Last year, friends organized a variety of on-line fund-raisers to help defray expenses of Lederman’s treatment. Now they are rallying again, holding a bone marrow drive in Scotch Plains and raising money on-line.

Over the last five years, Lederman, 41, a graduate of the Jewish Educational Center in Elizabeth, has faced down a rare blood disorder, a heart attack, and, beginning in January 2015, acute myeloid leukemia.

After last year’s transplant, he and his family thought he was on the way to recovery. But a serious form of what is known as graft-versus-host disease sent him back to the hospital until December, when he was released to a rehabilitation center. It was still day-by-day, according to close friend Lisa Miller, but Lederman’s wife, Stacey, remained hopeful, even as she and their two children moved in with her parents, also in Westfield. 

A routine blood test earlier this month revealed low blood counts. Further tests revealed that the leukemia was back. 

As the family considers a new medical plan for Lederman, including the possibility of a second transplant, relatives and friends are doubling down on their efforts to help. At this point, doctors do not think he is strong enough for chemotherapy.

The bone marrow drive will take place Sunday, Jan. 31, at the JCC of Central NJ in Scotch Plains, noon-3 p.m. Organizers are seeking healthy people between the ages of 18 and 55 who are not yet on the registry. 

Samples are taken with a swab from inside the donor’s cheek. 

Donors may also order a kit to swab at home from deletebloodcancer.org.

All money raised will defray medical expenses. To purchase shirts sporting a “We Fight Together” message, visit booster.com/ledermanstrong or join Lederman’s Facebook page, LedermanStrong, to learn of upcoming drives and fund-raisers.

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