A Carmel Valley father needs help fighting leukemia.
Joe Antonoff, 40, is reaching out to potential bone marrow donors in his fight against Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia or A.L.L.
This type of cancer most often affects young children but a third of all cases are adults.
Antonoff's wife Cassie said it began with a simple cold after going camping with his daughter before Thanksgiving. “He sometimes takes weeks to get rid of a cold, so we didn’t think anything of it at first,” she said. But after he had trouble making it up the stairs in their own home, she became very worried. They checked into urgent care and were told he needed an immediate blood transfusion and was diagnosed with A.L.L.
A.L.L. is a cancer of the white blood cells, causing the usually beneficial cells to multiply rapidly but have no healing properties, according to the National Marrow Donor Program. They also crowd out the red and white blood cells that the body needs to stay alive.
Antonoff currently gets daily shots at the hospital and undergoes monthly chemotherapy, which has had a huge effect on their lives. Joe used to go hiking, biking and travel with the family. He and Cassie have a daughter in third grade and a son in Kindergarten. Cassie says both are handling the situation well but often ask,” Why does it take so long for him to get better?” Cassie says it’s also been difficult to keep them away from their father in trying to avoid germs and illnesses they may bring home from school.
Chemotherapy has kept the disease at bay but doctors say a bone marrow transplant offers Antonoff the best chance of survival. Joe and Cassie have had no luck finding a match. “He has a brother and a sister. Unfortunately neither of them were a match for bone marrow donation,” said Cassie.
Now, Joe and his family are hoping that a donor can be found with the help of the San Diego Blood Bank and the National Marrow Program. People only need to give a swab of cheek cells or get a blood test to determine if there is a potential match. Potential donors can register at bethematch.org.
Joining the registry usually costs $60 but those who register before February 28, can do so free of charge by entering the promo code – Joseph.