Patients go to marrow transplant clinic in spite of storm

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WESTWOOD, Kan. -- Gene Hadel only half-jokingly wears a t-shirt saying "Leavenworth--A Gated Community." Gene's Overland Park home has sort of been like prison. He's been in isolation since December.

"I can either be in my home or in my car on my way here. And that's just about it," says Gene.

On Tuesday morning, he was in the blood and marrow transplant clinic at the University of Kansas Cancer Center. Snow or no snow, Gene had to get to the clinic for a check-up. He had a marrow transplant in December to save his life from cancer. Gene's immune system is still severely suppressed.

Dr. Joseph McGuirk says, "So their ability to fend off infection is greatly compromised. They're on a lot of potentially toxic medications so we have to watch them very closely and a day can make a significant difference.

Dr. McGuirk and some other staff spent the night at the cancer center so they could see eight patients including Jim Roy who also had a marrow transplant in December.

"I'm glad everybody didn't get out today. It made it easier for us to get here 'cause nobody else was out," says Jim.

It was also easier for Melanie Wilson, a nurse, who walked a mile and a half from a friend's house.

"Just walked in the tire marks of other cars," says Melanie.

No big deal, she says, considering the challenges the clinic's patients face. Those patients weren't complaining about the weather or being in isolation. Instead, they were grateful for their caregivers and for life.

"I don't know how I can ask for any more," says Gene.

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