Chatham woman goes across the border for possible transplant

Jocelyn McGlynn. (Photo courtesy of Jacquelyn McGlynn via Facebook.)

Hopes are high as a local family gets ready to travel to a treatment facility in the U.S., as a 21-year-old Chatham woman battles leukemia.

Jocelyn McGlynn, 21, was diagnosed with acute myelomonocytic leukemia (AMML) in November 2018. Since then she has undergone a couple of rounds of chemotherapy treatment in London.

It was made clear early on that Jocelyn would need a stem cell transplant. Her brothers were tested but were not a match so a call was made for people to become registered donors, not just for her, but for anyone in a similar situation. Now the McGlynn family is hopeful they will find a match in Buffalo, New York.

Jocelyn’s father, Peter McGlynn, said the family will leave for the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center on Monday for a consultation that is scheduled for Tuesday.

“There are three sites for non-related donor transplants in Ontario and… they have no capacity for Jocelyn,” said McGlynn. “Because time is of the essence there was a suggestion to move her transplant out of the country.”

McGlynn said although a specific donor has not been chosen yet, there are high hopes that one will be found at the site in Buffalo.

“The sites typically pick the donor, so they go and visit the registry,” he said. “They have┬áled us to believe that there is real confidence that there is a match for Jocelyn so that is certainly really good news.”

The consultation itself will take a couple of days but McGlynn said once the process for the transplant starts, they will likely be there for at least two months.

“We’ll come home [after the consultation] and then we’ll go back to Buffalo maybe a week or two later to begin preparing for what we hope will be the transplant,” said McGlynn. “Jocelyn will be admitted into the hospital when the transplant is complete for roughly 100 days.”

Before Jocelyn was diagnosed with AMML, she was at Western University, studying her fourth year of Medical Sciences. The connections she made at school and the ones at home in Chatham have resulted in a mass number of people offering support for her and her family.

“She is [remaining] positive. She is so encouraged by all of the support she has received from not only Chatham but from Southwestern Ontario,” said McGlynn. “Her university and other universities in Ontario are helping in supporting her so she feels it.”

McGlynn said it is overwhelming the amount of support the family has received over the past few months from family, friends, and even strangers. Donation clinics in honour of Jocelyn have taken place in recent weeks and are set to continue in the future.