Rome, N.Y., Oct. 1, 2009– Kimberly Sbaraglia Russo is a fighter. Diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in 2007, she now needs a bone marrow transplant. Friends and family are planning a fundraiser to help with the expenses.
Russo, 35, initially underwent treatments and was in remission for two years. The cancer recently returned, and her doctors say a bone marrow transplant is essential.
Originally from Rome, Russo now lives in Boca Raton, Fla. with her husband and three children, ages 2, 5 and 8. She is the daughter of Linda Myers Desmarais and David Sbaraglia, both of Rome.
A bone marrow transplant costs approximately $675,000. Even with health coverage, Russo faces significant medical expenses related to the transplant. She will require costly follow-up care and medications, which are as critical to her survival as the transplant itself.
Because the transplant will take place 220 miles from her home, Russo also will incur travel and lodging expenses. Her family must relocate for several months to be closer to the hospital, adding to their financial strain.
To overcome these challenges, Russo turned to the National Foundation for Transplants (NFT) for assistance. NFT is a nonprofit organization that helps patients raise funds to pay for transplant-related expenses.
Friends and family will hold a benefit/bone marrow drive called “Cancer Is NOT an Option” Sunday, Oct. 18 from 1 to 6 p.m. at Stanwix Veterans and Men’s Club, 6774 Lamphear Rd.
Admission is $10 and includes food from a variety of local restaurants, beverages and music. The event also will include a live auction with items such as an autographed Bucky Dent windbreaker, a baseball signed by Wade Boggs, a Mickey Mantle baseball card, a carpet from D&D Carpets, and more.
Raffle tickets will be available for purchase for items including a Weber Grill from Ace Hardware and an Oneida cookware set. Door prizes will be drawn as well.
Representatives from the National Marrow Donor Program will hold a bone marrow drive during the event. The drive will test as many as 500 people to become bone marrow donors at no cost to the donors. The cost for testing is usually $100, but the Marrow Group of Rochester is donating these tests to assist Russo.
For more information about the event, please call Linda Desmarais at 315-339-1238 or David Sbaraglia at 315-339-2168.