In a race for the cure to the leukemia diagnosed last year, Susan Butcher, four time winner of the Iditarod, has received a stem cell transplant from a donor she did not know:
The door to her hospital room closed. Susan Butcher was on the inside, and everyone else — her doctors, her children, even her husband — had to stay outside.
The four-time winner of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race has been fighting leukemia since she was diagnosed in December. Doctors killed the blood and bone marrow cancer with repeated rounds of chemotherapy. But to give Butcher the best chance at a cure, she’s gambling on an experimental treatment that started with massive amounts of radiation and chemotherapy and ends today with a transplant of stem cells from a man she does not know.
The last push started May 4. Butcher checked herself into an isolated room at the University of Washington Medical Center. Doctors injected her with a high dose of radioactive material to kill any remaining leukemia cells.
For the next week, the musher who thrives in open spaces was confined to a small room lined in lead to stop the radiation she emitted from harming others.
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