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Studio City father in need of stem cell donor match

Posted By Karen Young On January 7, 2010 @ 1:38 am In Featured,News,spotlight,Stories | 4 Comments


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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