Shaymus Guinn, an 11-year-old boy who had already been battling cancer for three years, found out late last year that he has chemotherapy-induced leukemia
He’s scheduled for a bone marrow transplant on March 23; his father, Tony Guinn, will be the donor.
And while Shaymus is recovering, a benefit and bone marrow drive will be held in his name on Sunday, with the intention of helping him and others in similar situations.
Christie Kern, who runs Racine Community Acupuncture in Franksville, is a friend of Shaymus’ mom, Karla Baumgart-Guinn. The two women met in college, and Kern remembers receiving the news that Shaymus needed the transplant.
Shaymus had previously had a clean CAT scan early in 2011 after a stem cell transplant to repair nine cancerous sites on his body. The leukemia meant he would need to go through another transplant.
“Shaymus had already been through too much,” Kern said. “He’s the coolest kid on the planet…he’s so kind, fun and silly. He’s a kid who shouldn’t be dealing with this.”
Shaymus is one of those kids who will get gifts, open the card first, and thank each gift-giver. Then he’ll open the gift and thank them again, Kern said.
“He’s also quite the artist and musician,” she said.
Kern immediately signed up online to see if she was a bone marrow donor match on a website called Be The Match. She learned that 10,000 patients need a bone marrow transplant, but only half of those people ever receive one. She realized how easy it was to register to be a donor. She discovered Shaymus wasn’t the only person in need.
And she wants to help others.
That’s why she’s hosting a fund-raiser/benefit – not just for Shaymus, but to also raise awareness of the 9,999 people who need a donor.
Volunteers from the BloodCenter of Wisconsin will also be on site to answer any questions about becoming a donor.
“We’re hoping that everyone that can sign up, will sign up,” she said.
She also hopes the event will celebrate Shaymus. There will be clowns, coloring projects for the kids, food items for sale, a silent auction and a raffle.
“This is also a way for me to channel my energy,” Kern said. “What would normally be fear, negativity and concern is being transformed into something that is loving, helpful, giving and positive.”
If You GO
What: Shaymus Guinn Bone Marrow Drive & Benefit
When: noon to 4 p.m., Sunday, March 18, 2012
Where: Caledonia - Mt. Pleasant Memorial Park, 9614 Northwestern Ave.