Wednesday, November 3, 2010

(MED) Canadian Thornhill Woman Has Experimental Leukemia Procedure In Israel

"Three new fundraisers are underway to help a Thornhill woman undergoing an experimental procedure to beat leukemia.

Alexis Wronzberg left for Israel, bouyed by hope, prayers and donations from hundreds of well-wishers, to undergo a Haploidentical stem cell transplant Oct. 6.

The 27-year-old has been battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia for more than six years. She underwent a stem cell transplant in February, but discovered Sept. 28 that she had relapsed.

Doctors believe the new treatment, available only at the Top Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, offers her the best chance of survival. Developed by bone marrow transplantation pioneer Professor Shimon Slavin, the treatment tricks infection-fighting white blood cells of the immune system to target diseased cells.

The initial procedures, which involve transplanting stem cells from her mother's blood and marrow from her mother's hip, went well, according to her father, Rick Wronzberg.

The transplants and transfusions took place Oct. 20. Alexis' mother, Debbie Wronzberg, donated the stem cells and marrow during two separate procedures on the same day and was able to return to their rental apartment to rest the following day, he said.

Aside from fatigue and lower back pain, she was well enough recovered to walk around Jerusalem several days later.

Alexis Wronzberg, meanwhile, is still waiting for engraftment which should be within the next week.

'Then the waiting begins for reactions and results,' her father said. 'The next two months are critical.'

The procedure is costly and not covered by the Canadian government. Considered a trial treatment, it will cost the family $300,000 for medical care plus additional expenses such as lodging, medication and doctor visits incurred during the four to six-month follow-up in Israel.

Family and friends pulled out all stops to raise the money, collecting $170,000 in less than a week. Donations continue to pour in and with final payment due to doctors this week, three new events have been organized.

Wednesday evening, Nov. 3, Alexis' friends and family will host a fundraiser party at Miller Restaurant in North York. Food, drinks, entertainment and a door prize will be included in the $50 tickets. The restaurant agreed to supply food and drinks as its donation and all proceeds will be directed to the treatment. Information on Wednesday's event is available at

The family has also set up an online auction to raise funds. For details, see and look up the auction for Alexis Wronzberg. The first round ends shortly and a second round follows.

Any funds in excess of what is needed for Alexis in Israel will be made available to help others in similar need, Mr. Wronzberg said.

Also, Howard Besser of Toronto Center Expedia Cruise Ship Center has set up a plan until Nov. 28 enabling those who wish to donate unused or extra aeroplan miles to allow Alexis Wronzberg's family to travel to Israel to be with her. For information, call 416-847-0500.


- Any TD Canada Trust bank (bank 0004, transit 12142, account 6328765) payable to Deborah Wronzberg in Trust for Alexis Wronzberg

- To donate via Internet banking, use Interac transfer - the e-mail reference for the transfer is" (source)

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