A North Babylon woman fighting leukemia was able to watch her youngest son marry in April with help from staff at Stony Brook University Hospital. Now she’s searching for a bone marrow donor, and her family will be holding an event June 11 to help her find a match.
Catherine Holm, 58, was diagnosed about two months ago with acute lymphoblastic leukemia — a fast-growing type of cancer that would require her to remain in the bone marrow transplant unit at Stony Brook while her son, Mark Holm Jr., 24, tied the knot in Puerto Rico.
Some of the nurses in the unit, aware of Holm’s predicament, decided to put on a wedding for Mark and his then-fiancee Joanna (née Caldeira) in the hospital’s chapel.
“It took my breath away just to know that I had the opportunity to be with my son and everyone to celebrate their marriage,” Holm said after the wedding.
Holm is currently undergoing chemotherapy and has been told that she will need a bone-marrow transplant to survive.
Her family will be holding a “Get Swabbed” event Saturday, June 11, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at St. Paul’s Reformed Church in North Babylon. Anyone ages 18 to 44 is invited to have their cheeks swabbed to join the national bone marrow registry, in the hopes of finding Holm a match.
Each year, about 6,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Only three in 10 patients will receive a potentially lifesaving bone marrow transplant, according to Stony Brook University Hospital.
“[Catherine] is a mother to four children and four grandchildren and ultimately we’re hoping this will save her life,” Holm’s daughter-in-law Gina Holm said. “She’s the glue that holds this family together.”