Seventeen-year-old Noah Stolte is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant. He and Salmon Arm’s Jane Scranton, six, are both living at Vancouver’s Ronald McDonald House while they receive treatment at BC Children’s Hospital.-Image credit: Photo contributed

Seventeen-year-old Noah Stolte is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant. He and Salmon Arm’s Jane Scranton, six, are both living at Vancouver’s Ronald McDonald House while they receive treatment at BC Children’s Hospital.-Image credit: Photo contributed

Bone marrow transplant last chance

Salmon Arm mom trying to attract more donors for worldwide registry

Fear becomes a constant companion when one’s child is desperately ill.

Kim Lahti-Scranton knows this all too well as her daughter Jane is fighting for her life at BC Children’s Hospital.

As much as Jane’s journey is all-consuming, Kim is helping a desperate woman to get young people to donate bone marrow in order to find a better match for her son, Noah, who is in critical need of a bone marrow transplant – soon.

The Scranton family is living in Vancouver’s Ronald McDonald House and shares a kitchen with 17-year-old Noah Stolte’s family.

Noah survived a first round of cancer when he was 10. In April, the family was given the terrifying news that he had relapsed.

“His mom thought they were going to find a match within family; they’re 100 per cent Dutch,” says Kim, noting family members are usually the best choice, but his three sisters are only a 50 per cent match.

Out of the worldwide pool of donors, there are two people who are a 75 per cent genetic match and are being considered, one of whom lives in Europe. The lower the match, the more chance there is for complications and a less than optimal outcome.

There is a time crunch as Noah needs to have a transplant sometime in September and it can take a couple of months from registration to donation.

One of Kim’s nephews is an NHL player, who used his connections to help Noah’s aunt interest 85 people in becoming bone marrow donors in Edmonton.

Unable to get help from Canadian Blood Services to organize a similar drive in Vancouver because of staffing issues, Kim and Noah’s mother, Stacey VanderLee Stolte, went to a Vancouver Canadians game to raise awareness and hopefully encourage people to sign up to be on the registry for stem cell or bone marrow donation.

“We were met with a whole range of responses – from people who were incredibly receptive, to people who completely ignored us and everything in between,” says Kim. “We got some interesting comments like ‘no kid would want my bone marrow, I’ve done too many drugs,’ to other people saying no because they thought if they were a match that donating bone marrow would be too painful.”

Dr. Lucy Turnham, a clinical associate who oversees the outpatient oncology clinic at BC Children’s Hospital, has performed Jane’s procedures and says males between the ages of 17 and 35 are the best resource.

“It’s one of the most wonderful charitable donations you can do,” Turnham says, noting many people never receive a call. “It has a huge impact on a patient who has no other options.”

Turnham explains that donors are educated before they do a swab. If they are told they are a match, they can still say no at any time. They then undergo further testing and maybe counselling at that point, and can still back out an any time.

“If they had said yes and the patient begins treatment to get rid of the diseased cells prior to transplant, and then the donor backs out, the patient’s life is at serious risk, so it is important to know what you are getting into before saying yes,” Kim stresses. “If the donor says yes to the procedure, they are told beforehand when the treatment would start and told when the last chance to back out would be.”

Stem cell donations can be made in two ways: the donor is hooked to a machine with IVs in each arm. Blood is taken from one arm, stem cells are removed, the blood is replaced through the IV in the other arm where the body grows more stem cells.

Or, the donor is anesthetized, a needle is placed into the hip bone from the back and part of the bone marrow is sucked out.

“You might be a little bit sore afterwards, but for less than 24 hours,” Turnham says, noting women can be donors but not if they have been pregnant. “Young bone marrow is more robust and we regenerate marrow and blood all the time.”

Becoming a donor is not a speedy process for people living in smaller communities, but would-be donors can receive a swab kit through the mail and return it postage-free.

Marc Plante, a representative with the national office of Canadian Blood Services, says people can go to and proceed to the Stem Cells tab at the top of the page.

“If you have an opportunity to save a life and just put up with a couple of days of discomfort, I would do it in a heartbeat,” says Kim, who must also face the reality that Jane could one day be in the same dilemma. “If most people had the opportunity to save a life, they would do it.”

The Scrantons have been living at Ronald McDonald House for several months, while Jane receives treatment.

“She’s as good as can be expected; she’s very compromised and we need to make sure she’s not exposed to anything,” says Kim, noting the first, and this, the fourth phase of treatment, are considered to be the toughest. “She has nothing to fight off infection.”

There is another terrifying aspect to this disease.

As well as living with the fear of potential relapse, some of the chemo drugs being used to treat Jane increase the risk of heart disease and cause secondary cancer, neuro-cognitive issues and behavioural issues.

“We don’t know if it’s coming or what it will be, but we don’t have a choice, we have to save her life now and deal with the consequences later,” Kim says. “You’re just kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop, for things to take a turn, it’s not fun.” And while Jane will require a lot of follow-up assessment in the years to come, the tough little hero turns six on Aug. 12.

“She has everything she needs; I just want people to sign up for the bone marrow registry or donate blood,” Kim says, noting she is grateful for the community’s support throughout the ordeal.

If you can’t donate but would like to help Jane celebrate, you can take birthday cards to the Salmar Grand Theatre where manager Daila Duford will make sure they get to their destination.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Salmon Arm City Hall is closing between noon and 2 p.m. effective April 12, 2021. (File photo)
Pandemic precautions change hours at Salmon Arm city hall

Public will still be able to access services online during two hours when facility closed

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Interior Health announces 89 cases of COVID-19 in the region

Currently, there are 900 active cases in the region

The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

More than 300 people counted at city park for ‘Rally For Food Security’

B.C. wineries are open for indoor tasting despite new provincial health regulations. Photo- 
50th Parallel Winery, Instagram.
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

Scotch Creek residents on the Saratoga water system will be without water for most of April 14 as the Columbia Shuswap Regional works on water system upgrades. (File photo)
Water system shutdown planned for Scotch Creek

Residents on Saratoga system encouraged to store water in case shutdown is longer than expected

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A five-storey, 60-unit building has been proposed for 8709 Jubilee Rd. E., Summerland. The proposal will be the subject of a public hearing on March 22. (Image by GTA Architecture)
Zoning, OCP amendments adopted for Summerland housing development

Council gives final readings for controversial five-storey, 60-unit housing development

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

The former Summerland Asset Development Initiative building on Prairie Valley Road in Summerland was suggested as the site for a temporary transitional housing facility for the community. However, Summerland council has rejected this proposal. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland council rejects transitional housing facility

Concerns raised about short timeline and condition of municipally-owned building

Shayla, an 8-pound black and grey Havanese, was stolen from outside a store on Banks Road on Saturday. (Contributed)
Stolen pup located, Kelowna RCMP confirms

Mounties said on April 12 that Shayla, the 8-pound, black and grey Havanese dog, has been located safe and sound

Penticton Vees continue their winning streak carrying a 5-0 win title as of Sunday night's hockey action. (Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography)
Penticton Vees continue winning streak

Sunday night’s 6-1 win has them with five in a row since the start of the season

Most Read