From: Bob Davis (earthjuice_at_prodigy.net)
Date: 2005-08-10 06:13:15
Micheal Brecker and Randy Brecker are two of my favorite jazz/funk artists from the 1970's.
Please pass this along if you can....
Contact for Michael Brecker: Dan Klores Communications
SAXOPHONIST MICHAEL BRECKER NEEDS BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT
August 9, 2005, Cleveland, OH – Heads Up International recording artist
Michael Brecker is an 11-time Grammy Award winner—the most of any
saxophonist, ever. As a result of his harmonic and stylistic innovations,
the renowned tenor saxophonist and composer, who is 56, is also the most
studied contemporary instrumentalist in music schools throughout the world
today. Prior to and during the pursuit of his acclaimed solo career,
Brecker has delighted millions through recordings or performances with a
virtual “Who’s Who” of jazz and pop giants including Herbie Hancock, Paul
Simon, Quincy Jones, Joni Mitchell, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis,
Aretha Franklin, Parliament Funkadelic, James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen,
Eric Clapton, Pat Metheny, Aerosmith, George Benson, Frank Sinatra, David
Sanborn, Chris Botti, Rick James, Frank Zappa, Harry Connick, James Brown,
Dave Grusin, Ringo Starr, Steely Dan, Dave Brubeck, John Lennon, Lou Reed,
Michael Bolton, Carly Simon, Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner, Billy Joel and Elton
Brecker’s blazing signature saxophone sound, however, has been temporarily
quieted. He is a patient at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in
New York, afflicted with MDS, myelodysplastic syndrome, a bone marrow
disorder. There is no known single cause of MDS and currently the only
curative therapy is a blood stem cell (bone marrow) transplant.
In preparation for his transplant, Brecker is completing his first course
of chemotherapy, but as of yet there is no suitable donor. The urgent donor
search—which has included Brecker’s siblings and children—has not resulted
in a match. Each year, approximately 9,000 people die in the U.S. while
waiting for a bone marrow donor.
Brecker is anxious to rejoin his family and begin to work again. He hopes
for more people to enter the National Marrow Donor Program Registry
[www.marrow.org or 800-MARROW-2] and towards this end, a massive donor
drive is currently being organized. As tissue types are inherited, Michael
will need a donor of European Jewish extraction.
“So many diseases can be treated and cured by a bone marrow/stem cell
transplant, including MDS, which I had never heard of until I was diagnosed
with it,” explains Brecker. “By speaking out, I hope to encourage as many
people as possible to get tested not only to assist me, but to help
thousands of others who are either facing or who will be facing the same
challenge with which I’m currently confronted.”
Brecker’s first album for Heads Up has been postponed. “This isn’t about
selling records, it’s about trying to help save a man’s life” says Dave
Love, President of Heads Up International. “We need to get together and
find a donor for Michael as quickly as possible.”
# # #
FAQs ABOUT STEM CELL TRANSPLANTS
Susan Brecker’s heartfelt plea elicited an outpouring of support for
Michael—and an outpouring of questions. As there is outdated and
conflicting information on the web concerning the stem cell transplant
process that can assist Michael and so many others, we assembled a list of
frequently asked questions—a hybrid of material found throughout the web in
addition to new information. Before contacting Michael’s management office
with your questions, please review the following. Thank you for your
Q01: What is a bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant?
A: It’s a potentially life-saving treatment for patients with MDS,
leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood diseases. The transplanted healthy stem
cells from a donor replace a patient's unhealthy blood cells that have been
destroyed by chemotherapy.
Q02: Are these the same stem cells about which there exists so much
A: No. Those are embryonic stem cells---which are completely
undifferentiated. Donors would be providing blood stem cells where the
extent of differentiation is only the specific type of blood cell that will
Q03: Does my blood type matter?
A: Not at all. The testing is for genotype (tissue type) and not blood
Q04: Who can be tested?
A: Donors must be between the ages of 18 and 60, in good general health
and be free of chronic diseases. For example, volunteers with serious
asthma, Hepatitis B or C or most forms of cancer (regardless of whether in
remission) cannot be accepted.
Q05: What is the procedure?
A: Testing only takes a couple of minutes and, at worse, is as painless as
giving blood. Blood is drawn for testing and a consent form is filled out.
In some instances, a buccal swab (a sterile Q-tip which is rubbed along the
wall of your inner cheek to collect cells) is used.
Q06: Does a person's race or ethnicity affect matching?
A: Because tissue type is inherited, patients are most likely to match
someone of their same race and ethnicity. There is a special need to
recruit more donors who are, for example, African Americans, Native
Americans, European Jews, Armenians, Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, Asians,
Hispanics and Latinos. The reason why there are greater number or donors
needed for these groups is as a result of either purges of the population
(genocide, etc.) and/or relatively few people in the group in the
international registry. A match for Michael would be most likely come from
those of Eastern European Jewish descent.
Q07: Where do I go to get tested?
A: Contact the NY Blood Bank [212-570-3441 / 310 East 67th Street] and
make an appointment for HLA typing. If you’re not in NY, go to
www.marrow.org or call 1-800-MARROW-2 to find the donor center nearest you.
Marrow.org will assist donors who wish to join the national registry. We
hope that you will join the national registry, however, if you do not wish
to join the registry [see Q13] or it’s difficult to make it to a blood
center, private kits are available from Tepnel Life Codes [800-915-3695].
Order the “HLA [A][B][DR]” kit for $140. You will need to have a small vial
of blood drawn. Indicate to Tepnel that your test is for “Michael Brecker”
and they will know to whom to forward your results.
Q08: How much is the testing and who pays for it?
A: The test generally cost $40 to $95 depending on the donor center and
the laboratory that completes the test. Testing at the New York Blood
Center is just $40. However, if you’re African American, Hispanic, Native
American or Asian testing is free at any donor center that’s part of the
National Marrow Donor Program network [800-MARROW-2]. More than 100 centers
throughout the country—including the New York Blood Center are part of the
network. Following the initial testing, all medical expenses are paid for
by the patient or the patient’s insurance.
Q09: What is the test for?
A: The test is to determine whether a tissue-type match exists between the
donor and the patient. More specifically, potential donors [and the
patient] are given an HLA or Human Leukocyte Antigen test. Antigens are
found on the surface of infection-fighting white blood cells (leukocytes).
A match between specific donor and recipient antigens is critical to having
a successful transplant (i.e., where the two immune systems will not go to
war with one another). Should you see your HLA results, the numbers
indicated are the identifying gene-pair markers (alleles) that are
responsible for your “A” antigen, for example, to be different than someone
else’s “A” antigen. In the fortuitous event you’re deemed a good match
after three specific antigens are compared, you will be asked for a second
Q10: What are the chances of my being selected?
A: As you might imagine, given the number of genes that need to match, the
overall chances are quite low...but the more people tested, the more likely
there will be a perfect match awaiting everyone.
Q11: Has Michael’s family been tested?
A: Yes, both his siblings and children---none match. There is also a rumor
afloat [04AUG] that a match has been found for Michael....regrettably, this
Q12: How are patients actually matched with donors?
A: The results of blood samples from donors or umbilical cord blood units
[see Q17] are added to different registries. The registries are then
searched for a donor whose tissue type matches that of their patient.
Q13: Can I be tested to be a donor only for Michael?
A: Yes, but on behalf of Michael, we hope that you would not embrace this
alternative. Explains Michael, “I hope to encourage as many people as
possible to get tested not just to assist me, but to help thousands of
others who are either facing or who will be facing the same challenge with
which I’m now confronted.” Should you nonetheless wish to make a donation
only for Michael, private kits are available from Tepnel Life Codes [see
Q14: Is there a difference between a bone marrow transplant and blood stem
A: Yes…and no. As a result of new technologies, the term “bone marrow
transplant” is in part a misnomer. In earlier years marrow had be extracted
from a donor’s marrow. Today at leading cancer centers like Memorial Sloan
Kettering, the collecting process rarely occurs this way. A donor is simply
connected to a machine through an IV that separates and harvests the blood
stem cells from the donor’s blood before the blood returns to the donor
through a second IV. Instead of being tethered to a machine for a few
hours, some folks still prefer direct marrow collection---where medical
technology has also improved. Following anesthesia, marrow—-which
continually replenishes every 4-6 weeks---is withdrawn using fine hollow
needles in the hip. A sore bottom may result for a few days. In short,
whatever the brief discomfort of whichever method that’s used—it’s nothing
compared to the virtue and humanity of potentially saving a life.
Q15: Can I take my name off the donor registry at any time?
A: Yes, being on the registry just means that you may be asked to be a
donor. It is strongly preferred, however, that you remove your name from
the registry if you feel you may be disinclined to be a donor. Nothing may
be as heartbreaking as someone having to learn that there exists a perfect
match to save the life of a loved one…and the donor changed their mind
about being a donor. Being a donor is not deleterious to your health. While
we hope that you become a donor, please do not add your name to any donor
registry if you’re not prepared to step-up when the opportunity presents
Q16: If I am a match, who pays for the necessary procedures?
A: If you are a match, the patient's insurance pays for the entire
procedure---there is no cost to you. This includes the cost of the physical
you will receive to ensure that you’re in good health.
Q17: I’ve heard about “cord donations” and stem cells from umbilical
If you or anyone you know is having a child, inform the obstetrician that
you would like the umbilical cord to be delivered to a cord blood bank
where it is tested and where the blood stem cells are frozen for future use
in the event of a match. The collection does not pose any health risk to
the mother or baby and does not affect the birth process in any way. The
cord would otherwise simply be disposed of.
For further information on donating umbilical cord donations:
For ordering a private HLA kit:
For further information on whether you qualify as a donor:
For learning where to get tested at a National Marrow Donor Program blood
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