This celebration (Bone Marrow Transplant Reunion) includes reflection

May 7, 2014 | by Nicole White

At City of Hope's upcoming Bone Marrow Transplant Reunion on Friday, May 9, hundreds of patients and the doctors and nurses who cared for them through their battles with cancer and other hematologic diseases will celebrate life and second chances.

Survivors and family at the City of Hope "Celebration of Life" Bone Marrow Transplant Reunion Survivors and family members at the City of Hope "Celebration of Life" Bone Marrow Transplant Reunion.

The annual reunion, formally known as the Celebration of Life and now in its 38th year, has grown from a single patient and his brother who donated lifesaving bone marrow to hundreds of patients and thousands in attendance.

The reunion is an opportunity to reflect on the personal connection between caregivers at City of Hope and patients. That connection matters. It's one reason that City of Hope has the best outcomes in the nation for hematopoietic cell transplants.


Having performed almost 12,000 hematopoeitic cell transplantations, City of Hope has one of the world's largest and most successful transplant programs. It also has the best outcomes. City of Hope has the only transplant program in the nation to achieve nine consecutive reporting years of “overperformance” in one-year overall patient survival, according to the most recent data from the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research, which tracks all such transplants performed in the U.S.

"The disease itself is such a thief, in that it attempts to not just rob them of their lives but their dignity; trying to give them back their life and their dignity is the essence of the care here," explains Stephen J. Forman, M.D., the Francis & Kathleen McNamara Distinguished Chair in Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation, in the video above.

Coming to a medical center that is devoted not only to top-notch cancer care, but also to scientific discoveries that will improve that care, makes a difference. The reunion is a reminder to constantly challenge ourselves to improve, Forman said.

"It leaves us both in awe, but also very humble – but also very focused," he said. "If we can do it for them, we can do it for more. Let's get back to work."


Watch stories of the patients who will meet their bone marrow donors at this year's Bone Marrow Transplant Reunion:

Musician George Winston has new goal: Say 'thank you' in German

17-year-old wonders about bone marrow donor; soon, she'll get answers


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