October 22, 2018

Brenda Garza, who has fought breast cancer twice and won, still keeps up the fight.

A community engagement representative with GenCure, Garza was first diagnosed and treated at the age of 28. The cancer returned three years later, but with strong support from her family and coworkers, she survived.

The struggle showed her something else: There were few resources available for Spanish-speaking people with cancer in the Detroit area, where she lived at the time.

“I saw the need to have resources and education in Spanish,” she said. “I thought, ‘What happens to people like me who are bilingual but don’t have the knowledge or vocabulary in English to understand a diagnosis like cancer?’”

October 15, 2018

Vitamins and minerals are important in the formation of platelets, the component of your bloodstream that helps stop bleeding.

If you have low platelet levels, or thrombocytopenia, your body’s ability to clot is negatively affected. You can overcome a low platelet level by eating foods or taking supplements high in folate, iron, vitamin B-12, vitamin C and vitamin D:

October 9, 2018

Like life, death is a journey. Grief and loss are the topics of the monthly Living with Grief program conducted by Susan Smith, grief support and life legacies manager at GenCure.

Susan has been doing grief and bereavement work for more than 20 years at hospices, childrens hospitals and medical centers. Her work at GenCure includes supporting tissue donor families and others dealing with the loss of a loved one.

At the Living with Grief sessions, narratives are shared in a supportive environment. The group encourages people to redefine themselves by telling stories of their loved ones and sharing different parts of their grief journey.Participants can share as much or as little as they choose.

Here is an outline of a recent session:

October 8, 2018

Stem cell therapies often come up in discussions of conditions that today have no cure.

One of the most commonly mentioned is arthritis, which actually is a catch-all term for a range of conditions affecting the joints. About 50 million adults and 300,000 children in the United States have arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation, and it’s the leading cause of disability in the country.

The problem with arthritis is that it’s caused by damage or loss of cartilage and other tissues that cushion the bones in the joints. Because cartilage doesn’t have its own blood supply, when it gets damaged, it has no way to receive healing agents like oxygen and nutrients from the bloodstream. Once cartilage is damaged, it typically stays damaged.

October 1, 2018

Donating peripheral blood stem cells was so simple for Nicholas that he didn’t fully realize the value of his precious gift.

“People keep reminding me that I’m saving a life, and how important that is, but I don’t think it’s struck me yet,” he said. “I know that in a year we can start exchanging letters, and that’s the point when I’m really going to realize this is something big.”

Stem cell donations help people with blood cancers and other blood disorders rebuild their immune systems and blood cells at the end of treatments. Under guidelines from Be The Match, the national database of stem cell and bone marrow donors, patients and their donors can’t contact each other until a year after the donation.

“If you’ve ever donated blood, this hurts a lot less,” said Nicholas, who is a government and history major at the University of Texas at Austin.