Columbus Man Receives Transplant Using Own Stem Cells
Marc Howard, a 52-year-old from Gahanna has never faced any health issues before. However, in early 2022, Howard was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer that forms in plasma cells.
He’s been taking medication and going through chemotherapy. But what he needed was a stem cell transplant.
10TV first shared the story of Howard’s journey in spring of 2022. He was preparing to become one of the first patients to receive an autologous stem cell transplant through OhioHealth’s new Blood and Marrow Transplant program.
“I don’t want to be the woe is me,” Howard told 10TV reporter Brittany Bailey. “I want to be the success story for somebody, for the world to look at, like, that man went through a situation, and he made it.”
With the constant support of his longtime love, Sonia Grant, each step of this journey has been possible.
“You hear about cancer, no matter what form of cancer it is, you hear about it, but when it hits someone that you love and you care for, and plan to live the rest of your life with, it’s grueling to watch them lie there or to watch their physical changes that they have to endure every day, to see them changing right before your eyes,” Grant said. “And there’s literally nothing you can do besides support.”
Helping the couple in that fight is Yvonne Efebera, MD, medical director of the OhioHealth Bone and Marrow Transplant program.
“BMT, blood and marrow transplant, is a process where, certain diseases require this, where non-functioning, deficient bone marrow or cancer cells are eliminated by giving high-dose chemotherapy, with or without radiation, and then replaced by new, healthy cells,” Dr. Efebera explained to 10TV.
Nearly 30 patients have received autologous stem cell transplants since the program admitted their first patient in October 2022. Howard received his on Dec. 30.
“I’m hoping and praying that things did exactly what they were supposed to do,” he said. “But regardless, I got to be here, things must continue, this thing called life.”
Howard will go back in a couple of months for a checkup to see if the procedure knocked out his multiple myeloma.
In the meantime, he is trusting the process and his medical team, with Grant by his side. “If we have to go further, we’ll just go further,” Grant said. “I mean, we can endure.”
For more information about the OhioHealth Blood and Marrow Transplant program, click here.