Cancer patient gets help from GW sorority

The Sigma Kappa sorority will focus its fund-raising efforts this year on helping one of their sisters in her fight against cancer, said Ellen Blankenstein, vice president of alumnae relations for the GW chapter.

Michelle Crosby, an alumna of Sigma Kappa sorority and a member of GW’s Sigma Kappa advisory board, underwent a bone marrow transplant Sept. 29, Blankenstein said.

Crosby, a 30-year-old wife and mother from Falls Church, Va., was diagnosed with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia during the second trimester of her recent pregnancy. None of her family members, including her son and newborn daughter, were bone marrow matches. Crosby was dependent on finding an unrelated donor through the National Marrow Donor Program’s Registry of Bone Marrow Donors, according to an Internet site updated daily by her husband, Joe.

The transplant, which Blankenstein said was “very successful,” does not end the slow process of recovery.

“It’s a hard, hard, hard process,” Blankenstein said. “But the doctors think she’s doing really well.”

Joe has chronicled his wife’s struggle on the World Wide Web at http://michelle.crosby.org in an effort to promote awareness about leukemia and to update friends on Crosby’s progress, according to the site.

“Good news. The transplanted cells have engrafted,” her husband wrote on the Web site.

Michelle is struggling to overcome nausea and other side effects that a bone marrow transplant can cause, according to the site.

Her husband also lists the effort Crosby’s friends and sorority sisters have made to raise funds for her medical bills and to promote bone marrow donor registration. GW’s Sigma Kappa chapter has been involved in fund-raising for Crosby since she was diagnosed. Recently, the sorority raffled off Beanie Babies online, and members said they are continuing their efforts to help Crosby.

Kate Arnold, Sigma Kappa representative to the Panhellenic Association, said at a recent Panhellenic meeting that the fund-raising for Crosby will be the sorority’s major philanthropic event of the semester.

Blankenstein agreed and said a special event will be held for Crosby Nov. 6.

The fund-raising contest, which will be held in J Street, will be based on the MTV show “Singled Out.” Participants will compete for a date and will pay $5 to enter, Blankenstein said. All proceeds will go to the Crosby family.

Sigma Kappa members coordinating the event said they feel tremendous loyalty to Crosby.

Blankenstein said it was meaningful to organize a fund-raiser that would directly benefit someone close to the chapter.

“She’s just great,” Blankenstein said. “She’s done so much for us. We’d like to be able to help her.”

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