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Cancer patient urges others to join bone marrow registry

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Joan Brown heads up the Walnut Gardens Community of Christ Church in Independence, Mo. But five weeks ago doctors gave her only four to six weeks to live. Brown is battling Leukemia.

You wouldn’t know it by the smile on her face, but according to doctors, Brown was only days from outliving her life expectancy on Saturday.  Earlier this year, she decided to stop painful chemo treatments for leukemia and go home to celebrate the life she has left.

“I’m still healthy my vitals are still good. We are almost to the six weeks.  I intend for it to last longer and be around my grandkids,” said Brown.

The same ones she’s been rolling around on the floor with lately. Since she’s been home, she was even apprehended by her family for shoveling snow. A moment she is very proud of.

“The miracle is that we’ve been able to have some good times with each other, with our children, and grandchildren and friends coming to visit.  It’s been a real miracle to have real joy in our lives again,” said Dave Brown, Joan Brown’s husband.

Because Brown can’t attend church services, the congregation sometimes comes to her, standing outside singing and soaking in the time they have left together.

When Brown’s health care team first began treating her they found two bone marrow matches. Unfortunately, brown’s cancer didn’t go into remission so they could take advantage of the match, but that isn’t stopping her and her friends at Walnut Gardens Church from extending the call for others to become donors that save lives.

“Even though we are soon going to lose Joan, we hope to extend her legacy to other people we don’t know and offer them that same hope,” said Pastor Eileen Terril.

Brown’s daughter, Cathy, was the first to take a simple swab test to join the life-giving registry and be part of her mom’s legacy.

“You can see the support she has here.  She means a lot to a lot of people. I’ve very proud of you,” said Cathy Froese, Brown’s daughter.

Lindsay Sills was on the registry for nearly 10 years before she was called to donate. She was there to support the brown family.

“She is a grandmother. She has grandkids maybe someone could be a match for another grandmother to see their grandkids grow up,” said Sills.

“This bone marrow drive is for all other people who have this disease and we don’t have enough bone marrow donors,” said Brown.

Although it’s not the way she hoped her journey would end, Brown is now at peace with dying. And she is using her last days, weeks, or perhaps still months to make sure others are given their best shot at life.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the bone marrow registry.

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