INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - Stem cell transplants are becoming the norm for treating some aggressive cancers.
Adrian Trotter of Independence is living proof. The 20-year-old is looking forward to nursing school – or maybe the Marines. But two years ago, his body was consumed by cancer, and his doctors knew it was bad.
"Very rare type of cancer of lymph glands that was extremely aggressive and not responding to chemotherapy," said Dr. Joseph McGuirk with the University of Kansas Hospital.
They put all of their hope in a stem cell transplant. It worked, but it wasn't easy.
Adrian called the first three weeks after the surgery, the worst three weeks of his life.
"You feel tired. Your mouth is so dry when you get mouth sores. You can't swallow. You can't eat. They put you on IV nutrient. You want to eat, but you can't. You have these weird dreams, always throwing up," said Trotter
Adrian didn't have a match in his family, so he turned to a worldwide registry of donors.
But because Adrian is African American it was a long shot.
"If you're Caucasian of western European descent your chance of finding a perfect match in the pool is pretty good, as much as 70 to 75 percent of a chance. But if you're African American like Adrian your chance is only about 40 to 45 percent," said Dr. McGuirk
Adrian's donor is a woman in Germany. He wants to thank her.
And he hopes his story will spur more people of all races to consider becoming a stem cell donor.
"It's important for minorities to donate because we can't have just one race that donates," Trotter said.
Adrian is in complete remission and looking forward to what's next in his life.