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Bone Marrow Donor Sought, Fundraisers Set for Lansdale Youth

Matthew Knoebel, 12, a Penndale Middle Schooler, is currently battling leukemia at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and a donor will be needed. A pancake fundraiser is set for Dec. 16 in Hatfield, as well as a hot chocolate sale

Penndale seventh-grader Matthew Knoebel is surrounded by love and generosity.

The leukemia patient, 12, has spent a month on a hospital bed at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, but you can tell his mother, Christina Simpson, has made him feel at home.

The hearts of the West Point-rooted Simpson family — sisters Christina and fiance Tom Coughlin, Kellie Roggio, of Upper Gwynedd, and Mary Aderman of Lansdale; brother Michael; and parents Mike and Sue — are much like their homelife (and Matthew's hospital room door): open.

On Halloween, Knoebel and his mom spent the afternoon watching Jim Gaffigan’s “Beyond the Pale.” Later that night, Christina took a Halloween bag of candy to her son, which was donated through Altoona’s “Make a Difference Day,” from the Ronald McDonald House Room at CHOP.

When she came back, Matthew had a sad look on his face: he didn’t want the candy because there were youths who needed in more than him.

“I just love him so much, it hurts,” said Christina.

On Friday, Knoebel was readmitted to the hospital; his leukemia is now high risk.

Doctors need Matthew’s cell count to be one leukemia per 10,000. Matthew’s is 400 to 10,000.

Chemotherapy, most likely, will not cure him. Relapse chance is high.

A bone marrow transplant must happen soon, his mother said.

Matthew's doctors are, at present, in the process of determining his human leukocyte antigen tissue type. HLAs are proteins on cells in the body, and the immune system uses the proteins to recognize the right cells for the body and the wrong cells for the body. The closer a match to Matthew's HLA proteins, the better.

Matthew was in the hospital for 37 days, and discharged on Wednesday. Remission was a possibility, as he was responding well to that chemotherapy. In the meantime, he was receiving home medical attention.

Matthew was diagnosed on Oct. 28 with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, or Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia.

Last weekend, Matthew’s neighbors held a hot chocolate fundraiser for him near Pine and Poplar streets. They are planning another one for next weekend.

Matthew's Hot Chocolate Sale is Dec. 15 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. rain or shine on Pine Street, between Squirrel Lane and Edgemont Avenue. 

Baked goods will also be sold. If you wish to donate baked goods, contact Rochelle at rndgirl3@gmail.com or call 610-574-7823. Baked goods can be dropped off day of or ahead of time, or picked up. 

Friends and family of Matthew have organized a public "Matthew's Fight Against Leukemia" pancake fundraiser breakfast at Applebee's at Ralph's Corner from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. December 16. 

The event is sold out.

All proceeds will go to fund Matthew's medical expenses.

There will be a 50/50 drawing at the breakfast.

It will also have a special guest: Santa Claus. 

Donate online at "Let's Help Keep Matt Healthy" on Indiegogo at this link:http://igg.me/p/273535.

To read Matthew’s full story, check out his CaringBrige blog at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/matthewknoebel.

Whitney Morris December 09, 2012 at 02:07 PM
How can someone see if they would be a match for him as a bone marrow donor? Is there a number we csn call or someone to email? I am a registered donor with DKMS.
Rochelle Vetsch Mohnke December 09, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Matthew's Hot Chocolate Sale! December 15, 2012 Rain or Shine! Hours will be 10:00am - untill the kids have had enough! ***Pine Street is located between Squirrel Lane and Edgemont Avenue *** We also are going to be selling baked goods! If anyone would like to donate any baked goods it would be APPRECIATED :) Baked goods could be dropped off the day of the sale or ahead of time. Need it picked up? I will come and get it! Further questions about the Hot Choclate / Bake Sale. I can be reached at rndgirl3@gmail.com or 610-574-7823. All money raised will go tho Matthew's family. Thanking you all in advance! Rochelle
Tony Di Domizio (Editor) December 09, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Family is awaiting more information on Matthew's bone marrow
Stephanie Setty December 09, 2012 at 04:49 PM
I am a registered bone marrow donor as well and would love to see if I could be a match. Keep us updated to how we can find out where to see if we could be a match
Christina Simpson December 09, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Hi everyone!! I have very little information right now on the whole process of finding a match for Matthew. I haven't talked to the Transplant team here at CHOP yet. From the first/only conversation we had when this news was broken it sounded like it could happen in late winter/early spring if his chemo goes well and there is an adequate donor available. I will update as I have more information. In the meantime, we are in contact with the National Bone Marrow registry BeTheMatch.org and are trying to arrange a drive for people to get registered. They definitely will be going to the National registries with a goal of finding a perfect match for him. If we can get a marrow drive running we will definitely pass the info on to get as many people registered as possible! Thank you all for your love, prayers and support! <3
Barbara H December 09, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Joining Be The Match is a great start for an opportunity to help anyone in need. http://marrow.org/Home.aspx I'm sure the hospital has already checked the registry, and hasn't found a match but you can sign up and the kit to register is a SIMPLE Q-tip cheek swap that you send back (postage pre-paid) and then you are registered.
Michael December 09, 2012 at 07:26 PM
We are praying for Matt. We hope he keeps his immune system strong to help in the fight. I almost fell off my chair when I read that the Ronald McDonald House is giving candy to children that are very sick. Couldn't it have been things like packs of crackers, pretzels, little boxes of raisins, etc. I had learned that soda and man-made sugars actually can feed cancerous cells. I think it was the Un. of Miami laboratory study of Acai fruit that found it to kill 60% of leukemia cells. Check that online. I think there is a good health program on a Lansdale area radio. called something like Duke and doctor. I heard they really help people across the country with all illnesses. I hope they can help. Stay strong Matt!! We're praying for you!!
Christina Simpson December 10, 2012 at 12:48 AM
http://marrow.org/Join/FAQs_about_Joining.aspx I am pretty sure if you are between ages 18 and 44 there is no cost to join the registry. If you are between 45 and 60, then it is a $100 donation...it's explained in the FAQs here. But you can order your kit online and send it back (postage paid) with your cheek swabs and you will be entered into the National Registry.
John December 10, 2012 at 08:53 PM
I have ordered my kit! My father passed away 11 years ago from this same type of Leukemia. I hope, in my fathers memory, I can help another. Hopefully Matt!
Christina Simpson December 15, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Mark your calendars now for Matthew Knoebel's 13th Birthday Bone Marrow and Blood and Platelet Bash the weekend of January 12th and 13th at the Corpus Christi Church Social Hall on Summneytown Pike in Lansdale. The American Red Cross as well as the National Bone Marrow Foundation will be on hand from 9am till ? (end time yet to be determined) for everyone to donate blood and platelets as well as be tested to see if you are eligible to donate bone marrow. More details on how to sign up will be posted shortly, for now just mark your calendars and plan on being there!
Karen December 16, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Do yoy have to be 18 donor?

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