This is the story of Bob Schlitz’s Battle with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS)
In May 2011 he started having chest pains and shortness of breath. After a stress test it was determined he had a blockage in the arteries. He went in for a routine angioplasty where it was discovered he was severely anemic. He was given his first blood transfusions and the angioplasty was performed without issue.
In the following weeks he underwent numerous tests to determine the cause of the anemia. After a bone marrow biopsy, and a consultation by specialists at the Mayo Clinic and University of Chicago it was determined he had Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) with cellular proliferation, often referred to as pre-leukemia. His was a combination they had not seen before. In simple terms his bone marrow was diseased and no longer producing red blood cells.
The only known cure for MDS is a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT), a procedure in which they destroy a patients bone marrow through chemotherapy and transplant a new one through a donor. We immediately went to work finding a donor, and in August received the news that a perfect non related donor had been found through the National Marrow Registry. In September he began Chemotherapy as a pretreatment to the BMT in hopes of putting the disease in remission. These treatments were unsuccessful, so in April 2012 he began the process to ready himself for the BMT.
On May 3, 2012 he received his transplant. During the transplant process a patient has no immune system and is extremely susceptible to infection and this was the case with Bob. Due to complications of an unknown infection, he passed away on May 9, 2012, almost exactly 1 year from the onset of symptoms.
During the course of the year in which Bob battled MDS, he received over 50 life saving blood transfusions. He was known for his generosity and it was through the charity of others that he was able to try and fight for his life. Even though he succumbed to his illness, he would want the generosity to continue, so The Bob Schlitz Memorial Blood Drive will be held on May 5, 2013 at St John Fisher School , Kane Hall. This will be in partnership with Lifesource.
To sign up for a donation click on the link Bob Schlitz Memorial Blood Drive
Hope to see you all there. Thanks for all the love and support over the last 6 Months.