Studio City father in need of stem cell donor match

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Karen_Young_MDF100BY KAREN YOUNG

In the fall of 2006, Studio City resident Jeff Tohl, now 58, was diagnosed with  Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  At that time, Tohl, who is an architect and father to three teens, underwent a stem cell transplant at the City of Hope that was deemed successful. However,  in recent months, Tohl’s blood cell counts have dropped steadily, prompting the need for multiple booster shots and weekly transfusions. After detailed testing, doctors determined that another transplant would be needed quickly in order to protect Tohl from a medical battle of a different kind — he is part of the unlucky  7 % of the population that can develop leukemia after a stem cell transplant.

Jeff Tohl with his wife Ellen Pressman and their three children, Jesse, Sophie and Phoebe (r-l).

Jeff Tohl with his wife Ellen Pressman and their three children, Phoebe, Sophie and Jesse (l-r).

“The doctors said that Jeff needs another transplant as soon as possible to beat out the possibility of leukemia…we’re trying to beat the clock with finding a matching donor,” explained Tohl’s wife, Ellen Pressman.

Although City of Hope has an international registry  with six million stem cell donors, only four have been found as possible matches.  However, none have been confirmed as a true match, and even if one is, they have to come forward to donate.  Tohl has a rare tissue type with a match being 1 in 2800.  None of his family members are a match.

The Tohl family, together with City of Hope, is setting up a preliminary testing site at Temple Beth Hillel in Valley Village on Sunday, January 10 from 9 am – 2 pm. The test is quick and non-invasive, just a swab from the inside of your cheek . It takes less than 15 minutes.

Temple Beth Hillel is located at 12326 Riverside Dr. Valley Village, CA 91607.   If you can’t attend, but want to be tested, you can order a free test kit at join.marrow.org/hope4jeff. Enter promo code: hope4jeff

If you are a potential match, City of Hope will notify you to see if you are still interested in continuing with the process. If you are, they will request an additional blood sample to determine if the match is close enough.

Requirements for being a possible donor:

Must be 18-60 years of age

Must be willing to donate to any patient in need of your help so long as you remain on the registry

Must be in good health

Conditions that would prevent you from joining the registry:

-HIV or risk for HIV

-Hepatitis or risk of Hepatitis

-Most forms of heart disease or cancer (whether you have had it or currently have it)

-Chronic lung disease

-Diabetes requiring insulin or diabetes related health issues

-Diseases that effect blood clotting or bleeding

-Recent back surgery, or severe, or ongoing back problems

-Autoimmune/Neurological disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis

-Being an organ or marrow transplant recipient

-Significant obesity

To find out more  about donor matches, log on to www.bethematch.org.

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

  • L.R. Wehrli

    Has Mr. Tohl investigated integrated medicine? It’s a combination of western and holistic medicines that has saved many lives when just one type of medicine wasn’t working 100%. Asian medicine specializes in improving blood production (Chi). There are several reputable Asian Medical doctors in Studio City. Hope that might help.

  • David

    I would hope that our community comes together and shows up this sunday to help Jeff out. This could be any of us in need, and as compassionate human beings we need to help each other, as we may be in the same need some day and we would all hope that others would be caring enough to want to help us out. This is all of our chances to be a miracle for Jeff or others in needd. I know I will be there….and I hope to see the rest of our community there too.

  • Ana Teresa

    Right on David. This act of compassion is a great way to start the new year. The Valley should come together to ensure the Tohl family has many happy new years to look forward to.

  • Suzanne Shapiro

    My prayers are with you and your family. I read about your situation in this month’s JCC Bulletin here in Augusta, Ga. I too was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in October 2006. I have also undergone an autogulous stem cell transplant at the Medical College of Georgia (located in Augusta). My Dr. (Anand Jillella) is the director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at the school arriving here with many credentials. I don’t know if he would be able to help you, but it may be worth a try. I will be indebted to him forever. Keep in touch – I wish I could offer more than just words, but if you need any further info, I am available to help.
    Suzanne Shapiro

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