Seven-year-old to undergo stem cell transplant in bid to stop rare leukemia

Cooper Miller, 7, will undergo a stem cell transplant on Wednesday that has a chance of curing his rare form of leukemia.

Cooper was diagnosed with JMML leukemia in June 2008. He underwent the first of two bone marrow transplants in September 2008.

Cooper is at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland after undergoing a week of chemotherapy, said Chester Miller, his father.

The stem cell transplant, from umbilical cord blood, will replace a specialized cell therapy doctors and the family had been planning at St. Jude’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

“Hopefully, this will cure it,” Miller said.”This is a long shot, but it’s better than what they were going to do.”

Cooper will remain hospitalized through most of the holiday season, Miller said. He will probably be released about a week before Christmas, and the family will have to remain in the area, close to the hospital, for about the next two months.

An account remains open for donations at Umpqua Bank to help defray uninsured costs for travel and lodging after the transplant.

Cooper is doing well generally, Miller said, except his counts have been off.

He’s still eating well, and that keeps his spirits and his family’s spirits up, Miller said. Every time problems flare up, he fights his way back.

Now, it’s just a matter of getting his blood cells to cooperate, Miller said.