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March 02, 1990 - Image 32

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-03-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I NEWS

PROFILE OF A PARTNER

STACY LICHT GORDON

SHE DOES WHAT?: Ultrasonographer (performs ultrasounds).

WHAT'S NEW: Stacy and husband David are expecting their first

Allison Atlas' Story:
Help Comes To Others

child in May

EDUCATION: University of Michigan, Class of '85, B.S. in psychology; University of Wisconsin,

completed ultrasound training

ELENA NEUMAN

ALLIED JEWISH CAMPAIGN ROLE: Associate chairman of Young Adult Division $500

Special to The Jewish News

section and Super Sunday volunteer for six years

A

LISTEN TO YOUR PARENTS: "My parents instilled strong Jewish values in all of us (her and

fEIDER4 ),

:- 5111 J °

PARTNERS
FOR LIFE

three sisters), and to be aware of those around us who are
less fortunate. I see the dedication that the leadership has to
this community. As young adults, it is up to us to be involved
so we will be able to assume those roles when the current
leaders step aside."

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32

FRIDAY, MARCH 2, 1990

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354.6060

20-year-old girl's des-
perate search for a
bone marrow donor
has caught the eye of the
nation and brought hope
back into the lives of many
other leukemia victims.
But the tragedy of Allison
Atlas continues, as the
Bethesda, Md., resident
struggles to cling to life, and
hope.
"I know time is running
out," says Allison. "I was
given three to six months to
find a donor, and now I'm in
my sixth month." The longer
they wait, the lower the
chances are that a
transplant will be suc-
cessful.
"We haven't had any trou-
ble finding donors so far. We
were amazed at the turnout
and how much people have
cared."
With over 14,000 persons
tested across the eastern
United States in the last two
months, Atlas' un-
precedented public cam-
paign to find compatible
bone marrow — although not
successful in her case — has
found potential donors for 15
other victims of the cancer.
"I'm still very optimistic,"
says Atlas, a New York Uni-
versity business major with
a broad smile and sparkling
eyes. "And I think it's great
that all these people have
found potential donors.
"I guess the nicest thing is
that people don't have to
look at me and feel sorry.
They can do something. And
if they can't help me
specifically, well, maybe
they will end up helping
someone else."
But people do look at
Allison and feel sorry. Since
Nov. 19, when the family
decided to go public after un-
successfully testing 200 ex-
tended family members,
Allison has appeared
throughout the broadcast
and print media.
"Allison dreaded the idea
of becoming a public figure,"
says Nick Kotz, a cousin and
a journalist who first
publicized Atlas' plight.
"She's become a real leader,
though. When she goes on
TV, she makes people want
to help."
Simon Atlas, Allison's first
cousin who is helping to co-
ordinate the Friends of
Allison campaign, agrees.
"There's a certain charisma
she has in terms of her fight

Allison Atlas

and determination to beat
this. It's the old American
determination that says 'I'm
going to win.' "
With time running out, it
may be Allison's Jewishness
that will determine whether
she lives or dies.
Allison suffers from a rare
form of leukemia for which
there is no treatment, only
the possibility of a cure
through a bone marrow
transplant. Such transplants
are complicated, requiring
compatibility for six diff-
erent antigens.
"It's a big lottery and
everybody knows it," says
Simon Atlas. "They say the
odds are one in 20,000" of
finding an individual com-
patible on all the six counts.
"It's like looking for a needle
in a haystack."
Doctors say the best
chance to save Allison prob-
ably will come from locating
an unknown distant relative
of eastern European Jewish
origin. Such persons would
have roots in the Lithuanian
village of Disna and
Braslave near Vilna, and
have family names such as
Gotkin, Serklin, Simkin,
Henkin and Atles.
The search also focuses on
people from Dolhinow
(Dolginovo) and Rechista,
both near Gomel, and from
Blubakaye, all in
Byelorussia, formerly
Lithuania, especially with
family names such as Kotz,
Katz, Rubin and Mirman.
The Friends of Allison
Campaign has established a
toll free number —(800) 456-
9285 — specifically for those
meeting the above criteria
who are interested in obtain-
ing information on how to be
tested. But time and money
are both in short supply.
The drive has tested Jew-
ish individuals in Washing-
ton, Baltimore, Boston, Nor-
folk, Va., Harrisburg, Pa.,
and most recently in New
York. The campaign was to

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