Stories about: myelodysplastic syndrome

For college athlete-turned transplant patient, life’s still a ball

dana3The first time a stem cell transplant recipient leaves his or her quarantined hospital room marks a significant milestone. In the case of Dana Mendes, this move toward independence included an additional step: chasing a ball through the hallways with a stick.

For Mendes, 18, it was a return to what she loves. She had been just two days away from her first preseason field hockey practice at Assumption College in August 2015 when a mysterious bout of fatigue was diagnosed as myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). This precancerous condition, in which immature blood cells in the bone marrow do not mature to become healthy blood cells, required treatment at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center – including a life-saving stem cell transplant in December 2015.

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