The residents of Traer over the years have experienced many tragedies in many forms, such as illness and accidents. There isn't much that can be done about the accidents, but illness is another story. About a year ago, a former Traer resident, Jack McKinney, who lives in State Center, almost died at a hospital in Ames, but a very caring doctor noticed something wrong in his blood work. He immediately did a bone marrow test and discovered that Jack had a rare form of leukemia. Some people may live for years without serious symptoms, thus requiring little or no treatment. Others are not so lucky; complications develop that can be life threatening. The bone marrow over time changes to the consistency of sand, which means painful complications are difficult to treat and the only current cure is a bone marrow transplant after chemotherapy.
Jack is one of the lucky or unlucky ones, depending on how you look at it. His doctor caught it early and got him into Mayo Clinic in Rochester, where another top notch doctor specializes in such diseases. However, Jack has suffered severe side effects and is now undergoing debilitating chemotherapy. He will then need to find a marrow match. Jack's address at the hospital for the next few weeks, and likely months is: Jack McKinney, Mayo Clinic Methodist Hospital Campus, Station 93, 201 West Center Street, Rochester, MN 55902.
This story is being told for several reasons. One is a reminder; if anyone reading this knows of anyone who has symptoms that indicate stroke, heart attack, cancer, etc., tell them not to wait, go see a doctor. Let him or her decide. If it is a false alarm, no problem. But if it isn't, it could save someone's life.
Bone marrow, blood, and organ donations also save lives. Currently, bone marrow donations are most successful from donors from the age of 18 to 44, but donations up to age 60 are accepted from Be The Match, the national registry. The process starts with signing up online and the website is www.bethematch.org.
Jack was raised and educated in Traer, where he gained many lifelong friends. His parents were Ray and Ramona McKinney, deceased. His sisters are Patti Kupka (Clutier), Becky Kremer Carter (Missouri), and Dee McKinney (Tampa). Jack is now 62. He adopted and raised three children, Josh, Jess, and Carly. Jack's parents, grandfather, and aunt were members of the local American Legion; Jack has been a member for 42 years, and he has maintained strong ties to the community.
If anyone who reads this article wants to sign up for possible bone marrow donation, you could save another person's life. Maybe not Jack's life directly, but someone else who is in the same situation. There are also other ways to help. Jack is a lab tech for a local electronics company. Some larger companies, such as John Deere, have insurance plans that are on a higher level than the company he works for, because more employees make reduced costs possible. Therefore, Jack has to pay more for his devastating illness, which requires weeks and weeks of hospitalization and related costs. If you wish to contribute to a fund to help defray the costs of his treatment, the Farmers Savings Bank in Traer has an account set up. Any contribution would be greatly appreciated.
Medical research for cancer is light years ahead of the limited treatments available in the past. Every time people like Jack undergo treatment, more is learned and gained to win the race for a cure. Again, getting periodic checkups or physicals and reporting odd symptoms to your doctor is paramount for all diseases and very important, because it can be a lifesaver. Jack wishes all of his old friends good luck with health matters, he has many fond memories of his many years in Traer. Thank you.