Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bone marrow needed for Alice McKillop

From page B2 | July 15, 2013 |

Alice McKillop


Five and a half years ago, Diamond Springs resident Alice McKillop was diagnosed with lymphoma which, after a few years in remission, reemerged as chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

The second-most common form of adult leukemia, CLL often has no symptoms. Sometimes it is just monitored instead of treated. But, for the 56-year-old McKillop, the disease has been aggressive and she is now undergoing her fourth type of chemotherapy and looking at a bone marrow transplant.

Alice and her husband, Kirk, have lived in  Diamond Springs since 1987. They raised their two daughters there and have a son, Brendan, who is a senior at Union Mine High School. She was a dental hygienist for Dr. Carl Hillendahl and Dr. Lowell Pluebel for 26 years.

“She’s got a real astute business sense,” said Kirk. She does the bookkeeping for his construction project management company.

“She’s a bubbly person with lots of friends and she’s belonged to the same women’s study group in Sacramento for 30 years. Our two grandsons and the prayers of our church members have buoyed her up through all of this.”

Alice dealt with chronic fibromyalgia for years and cut back her hours as a dental hygienist due to fatigue. Later, she started feeling that something wasn’t right and went to her doctor.

“They thought it might be a virus of some sort,” said Kirk, “and advised her to monitor it.”

Alice went to an infectious disease specialist who also advised a wait and see.

“More time went by, but she said she knew her body and something was not right,” said Kirk.

Alice went to another specialist who found that her lymph nodes were swollen. From there, it was a short step to the diagnosis of  lymphoma. Then it became CLL.

“The chemo she is taking now is very harsh,” said Kirk. “They are trying to deplete her system so that a bone marrow transplant will be more effective.”

At home, Alice’s vulnerability to infection means that visitors can’t come inside. Even Kirk can’t be around other people if they are ill, lest he bring the germs home. And she hasn’t yet been able to hold her two grandsons, John Kirk, 18 months, and Tristan, 10 months.

 Once a bone marrow match is found, Alice will go to Stanford Hospital for the transplant procedure and some 3-4 months of recovery.
“We’re in limbo right now,” said Kirk, who will be her care giver during the process.

On Sunday, July 21, Calvary Chapel, 6575 Commerce Way in Diamond Springs, will host a bone marrow/blood drive in collaboration with Blood Source in support of Alice McKillop from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Kirk, one of the couple’s daughters and husband, son Brendan and Kirk’s brothers will be in attendance. “This is not just for Alice, ” said Kirk, “but we’re hoping for a match.”

Alice was a blood donor for many years and Kirk finds it ironic that she will benefit from the generosity of others the way others benefitted from her generosity.

“We live day by day. We get through today and then move on. I’m holding out great hope that in a year or so, Alice will be able to do all those activities she’s had to put off for so long,” said Kirk. “She wants to hold her grandsons.”

Those attending the July 21 bone marrow/blood drive need to be 18-44 to register for the National Bone Marrow Registry. Registrants must be willing to donate bone marrow to any patient in need.

“Someone from El Dorado County may bless a person in Mississippi with their marrow, or someone from Boston might be a match for Alice. That’s the way it works,” Kirk said.

Testing for a bone marrow match is quick and easy — initially a cheek swab during the bone marrow drive. If a marker/match is identified, then a blood test will be conducted at a later time.

Those wishing to donate blood must be at least 18 or have parental permission to do so. Blood donation takes about an hour; donors must bring a photo ID, weigh at least 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old and generally healthy. Donors can be 16 if they have a signed Blood Source parental consent form. There is no upper age limit for donors and they should drink plenty of fluids and eat well before donating.

For more information about the blood drive and marrow registry, contact Blood Source at 800-995-4420, extension 60039 or visit the Website at

Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.





District 2 candidate statements tell of goals

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

Sand Fire nears containment: 66 structures destroyed

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Schedule for Highway 50 blasting closures

By News Release | From Page: A3

Tails wagging over dog park approval

By Julie Samrick | From Page: A3

Quarter-acre fire in Kelsey

By Rebecca Murphy | From Page: A3



My Turn: Privatization of public services

By Mark Belden | From Page: A4

Policy book

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4



Large bangs

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

Private property gets no respect

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

GDPUD management report

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

District 2 supervisorial special election

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

Piano replaced

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Comments sign-in policy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Save the Guinea Worm

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment



Sierra Sharks finish middle of the pack

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A8

Roundup: July 29, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A8

Taz pull through for SSL trophy

By Patty Pope | From Page: A8

Ex-Bruin lends a helping hand

By Steven Shaff | From Page: A8 | Gallery



Nuns discover a pleasant place

By Lexi Boeger | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Bargains can be found everywhere

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

At a glance: Game time

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

Barbecue dinner to benefit Blue Star Moms

By Mount Aukum Winery | From Page: B2

Stagecoach story takes riders on a trip

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: B3

Help needed to make cool ties

By Sew 4 | From Page: B3

Stroke and osteoporosis screenings planned

By Life Line Screening | From Page: B3

Gold Rush Days activities cancelled this year

By Sacramento Convention And Visitors Center | From Page: B4

Master Food Preservers: Tomato time

By Monique Wilber | From Page: B4

Build an author platform at the Library

By El Dorado | From Page: B5

Sacramento area museums offer summer fun

By Sacramento Association Of Museums | From Page: B5



Weather stats 7-29-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

Building permits 6/2-6/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2Comments are off for this post

Crime Log: July 17

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2



Merlyn Wilbur Adams

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Lisa Oliver Rose

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Wallace Murrel Thomas

By Contributor | From Page: A2


Real Estate




Women’s Health

Love the skin you’re in

By Noel Stack | From Page: WH4

Dump stress and improve your health, productivity

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: WH7Comments are off for this post

Women’s Health Expo

By Marshall Medical | From Page: WH8

Find the confidence you need to fight back

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: WH12

Our choices directly affect our health

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: WH14

They’re NOT your mother’s hearing devices!

By Marshall Medical | From Page: WH17