The room is quiet, but the sound of hope still rings loud and clear as a young cancer patient prepares for his stem cell transplant.
The stem cells, donated by the patient’s brother, are the center of attention. For this young man, the infusion is another chance at life.
It is his second transplant, so for everyone in the room, tension is mixed with faith and optimism.
Prayers are offered
Chaplains from the Department of Chaplaincy and Pastoral Education provide stem cell blessings at the request of any MD Anderson patient. Today, Richard Maddox has been asked to pray with this patient, his family and his medical team and bless the stem cells being transplanted.
Contemplating the future with new hope
The cells themselves come from bone marrow and are immature cells that develop into various types of mature blood cells. A stem cell transplant replaces defective or damaged cells in patients whose normal blood cells have been crowded out by cancerous cells.
The stem cell blessing is a pivotal point in a patient’s treatment. A patient must be in remission to receive the transplant and that requires physical, psychological, emotional and often spiritual work.
Ten years ago, this same patient was just a boy facing his first transplant. Now he is a young adult and, with the relapse of his leukemia, faces challenges in establishing his career, his relationship with his fiancé and how he will manage his cancer.
The powerful moment of his stem cell blessing gives him hope for his future.