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Thoughts With Williams Family

MLS veteran forward Andy Williams and Real Salt Lake are reaching out to the American soccer community in hope of helping his wife Marcia, who has a rare form of leukemia and is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant. The next 45 to 60 days will be crucial, a club spokesman said. Two drives will be held in Salt Lake City over the next week and possibly others in Florida in an effort to find a potential donor.

If you think you can help, no matter where you live, please contact RSL executive Trey Fitz-Gerald at

For an update on his wife's status, read Andy's comments in the continuation of this thread.....

"Just wanted to let you know where things are at the moment. Last week was super hard for us. We found out that Marcia's blood results were the lowest they have ever been. Another result we found out is that she has also developed an abnormal chromosome in the blood. This abnormality essentially means that she most likely won't be cured by chemotherapy alone. Usually people with this extra chromosome tend not to do well with the chemo treatment by itself. So the options that we do have now is first and foremost a bone marrow transplant. We still haven't found a suitable match yet. This leaves us with the option of a cord blood transplant, which is a lot more risky than the first option. The reason for this is that after the cord blood transplant, the stem cells take much longer to graft to its host, leaving the room for deadly infections during this time. Another problem is that cord blood is still a fairly new procedure and it's mostly used on children rather than adults because the cord blood is so small. The final hurdle for us is that our doctor here has not done this procedure on any adult and would like us to be his first. Which I assure you is not very comforting at this point. As the week goes on, I will update you more on our decision, but as usual we ask you to keep us in your thoughts and prayers."

By Steve Goff  |  January 21, 2009; 7:34 PM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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Sure hits you hard and makes my lousy complaints about life seem so inconsequential compared to what Andy and his family are going through. In my thoughts...

Posted by: PEddy | January 21, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

can this be done in a mobile unit? the test, obviously, not the transplant. If so, there should be a bus at the Sweden game, the Mexico game and MLS games to build a database. even if Mrs. Williams can't be saved, which would be a tragedy, working on a database of potential donors would be a legacy. MLS and USSF should help with this.

Posted by: joshuaostevens | January 21, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

How would a person even know if they are a potential match? I have no idea if I'm a match or not, how could I find out?

Posted by: Eugene7 | January 21, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm totally clueless about this stuff. What does the test require, and how tough is it to determine a match?

Posted by: Kenobi | January 21, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Good job getting the word out Steven, classy.

Posted by: euroman | January 21, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Request a Donor Registration Kit by Mail

If you cannot attend a bone marrow donor drive, you may request a typing kit by mail.

Just a registration form, two swabs and mailing it back.

Posted by: dpowellutkedu | January 21, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Request a Donor Registration Kit by Mail

If you cannot attend a bone marrow donor drive, you may request a typing kit by mail.

Just a registration form, two swabs and mailing it back.

Posted by: dpowellutkedu | January 21, 2009 8:29 PM


Thanks for the link. My MIL passed away from leukemia about 3 years ago and my SIL had it as a child and survived. This is a cause that is near and dear to our hearts. Please consider registering. Even if you do not help in this case, you may one day save a life.

Posted by: HarkesyRules | January 21, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Goff, i'm assuming you are working college basketball right now. Do you have any update on John Vaughn, the George Mason guard who collapsed on the court tonight? He was on the ground for over 20 minutes and was taken by ambulance out of the arena. I can't find any updates. Was hoping you may be able to provide one.

Posted by: ol-brob | January 21, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) is a great place to start.

Patients usually resort to donor drives after they have failed to find a matching donor among the registries.

The science in this area is advancing and I hope that soon transplants between unmatched donors and recipients will have the same success rate as matched transplants. Until then, more registered donors are needed to increase the likelihood that a patient with a rare tissue type finds a match.

Everyone who is a potential organ donor through driver's license consent, should consider registering as a marrow donor as well. It's a chance to save lives while you're still alive.

Give Life.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | January 21, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

George Mason basketball player John Vaughan briefly lost consciousness after getting elbowed in the second half. He was treated for about 15 minutes on the court and removed by stretcher. He is awaiting evaluation at the hospital, but it appears to be precautionary. Team spokesman said he is alert and complained of a bad headache. Still, quite a scary sight.

Posted by: Steve Goff | January 21, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Please follow along with our story at the charity website anyone who has ANY questions in regard to bone marrow, or Marcia please feel free to email us at Thanks to everyone. Deb Harper, Soccer Unites

Posted by: Soccerunites | January 21, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

The "test" itself is simply a blood draw to be sent to a lab for typing. I used to work in such a lab. Bone marrow donor drives are common and hopefully MLS will help set them up in MLS towns ASAP. The hard part is finding a match. Marrow donors must be almost perfect matches to avoid graft vs. host disease. Unfortunately, if you don't have a match in your family, the chance is small that a suitable donor will be found in the general public.

Any idea what race Andy Williams's wife is? It's very important because there are specific markers which are more common in individual races and when running a donor drive, that race should be the one on which to focus.

I hope things work out well for the Williams's.

Posted by: DrBeaker | January 21, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Well, apparently, it's also a cheek swab test these days. Modern technology, I guess!

I found a donor drive in Round Rock, TX for Marcia Williams.

Posted by: DrBeaker | January 21, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

I think the initial test simply involves a cotton swap to collect some cheek cells, so that would be something that could take place outside stadiums

Posted by: emanon13 | January 21, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the classy post SG, my heart goes out to the Williams family. Across team lines for a sec, this is relevant now to my life as well. A desire to volunteer my time doing something potentially life saving led me to Team In Training, an arm of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society that trains you to be an endurance athlete in exchange for securing sponsors, all in hopes of finding a cure. If anyone is interested in becoming another level of athlete for a great cause and doing things they never thought they'd be able to do, google Team In Training, they're amazing. And if you're feeling moved to help from home, please look me up under the participant name Will Lara, and consider sponsoring. For my part, thanks for the address. I'll be emailing to seek the William's permission to honor Marcia's efforts by putting her name on my jersey come race day. Cheers.

Posted by: VivaMetro | January 22, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I just attended this "world record" bone marrow donor registration drive in Madison, NJ on Saturday.

There was really nothing to it. Sign some forms and swab the inside of each cheek with a Q-tip. There shouldn't really be any reason that turnout couldn't be exceeded at a soccer game.

Posted by: tbrodie | January 22, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

If you are over 61 can you donate?

Posted by: VirginiaFan | January 22, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

This is really sad news. Andy, I pray that your wife gets all the help she needs and as quickly as possible. You guys are in our thoughts.

Thanks for the heads-up, SG.

Posted by: Kosh2 | January 22, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

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