DHK - Jeremy "JJ" Demers, 34, Stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma (white blood cell cancer), Ludlow, with Dr. Joseph Antin, chief and program director, Stem Cell Transplantation, Dana-Farber 8-16-17

WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon
Wednesday, August 16th

JJ was diagnosed in December 2013. He drove himself to the hospital at 4 am with extreme pain, and an inability to eat or sleep. A CT scan found that his lymph nodes were enlarged to the size of baseballs between his organs, putting pressure and pain on his back. He also had been losing weight and they found cancer in his lungs, his heart was only working at 30%. JJ is currently undergoing radiation for treatment. He has had two bone marrow transplants, 18 months of chemotherapy and now, radiation. JJ chose Dana-Farber because he says “their technology and knowledge exceeds anywhere in this world to help fight this ugly monster of cancer.” He enjoys playing sports, especially baseball and softball, and coaching kids. He has pitched twice at Fenway Park when he was playing for UMASS baseball team. JJ works typically 7 days a week on transmission lines. He says it’s pretty intense, dangerous, and a thrill. What helps JJ to stay positive is to think “someone has it worse”.

Dr. Antin treats patients like JJ who's only hope of cure or survival might be a stem cell transplant. Stem cell transplants are used to restore the stem cells when the bone marrow has been destroyed by disease, chemotherapy (chemo), or radiation. Stem cells are in the blood and bone marrow--they are young immature cells that turn into blood cells. Some patients with certain types of cancer benefit from a stem cell transplant--after their unhealthy cells are destroyed by chemo and radiation, they are replaced by either their own cells harvested at an earlier time or by those of a sibling or even a stranger. Dr. Antin can speak about the strides made in this technology thanks to research and about what has become new in this field over the past 10 years.


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

I doubt we'll see in this day and I'm just gonna unless JJ gift horse in the song for no apparent reason. Jake Jake immerses here Jeremy column gauging if we're friends now. Doctor Joseph Hampton is also here Keaton program director stem cell transplantation at the Dana Farber. Tar was just visiting with a few minutes ago she and her transplant last November Jay you watch through the doors that I've been through too with those. Am I think you look pretty darn good for a guy's been putrid two to two transplant. I feel. Blow it away that's it is openly as much akin. Still work in every day. And and join license which is they can't inside. Here he is update us and just tell us how how did you get this point how what what happened. Diagnosis to fit first moment must now. So beckon. 2012 losses. 26 unless there's a budge on drivers. On heroin. Is actually. I mean. Saucer got to Clarkson just something simple so. I'm a year later. I was actually diagnosed. What what they found was a few Ernie dis my neck but it. Cancer noises sound of political influence in between my organs. And besides that they found in my lungs in my heart was on word that 30%. And really what happened was those and so much pain. Was working my second job my and not just shut myself that a hospital. Knowingly wasn't able to it needs to well. Chopped the ball seventy pounds weighing in after couple months and I just wasn't myself. Whatsoever and before you know it. I was diagnosed and Billie completely. So it just has been blown way as much as I can. Lately and it's it's been along. You know. 34 years on each and once he came home to bone marrow transplants that you said and I've just been blessed are still be here today. Through treatment and do doctors at that whatsoever. You're an athlete you played College Baseball and in the mass you actually. In this in this park and it is are ones we've place. And struck out Utley English. No loss. And also had a perfect little infidelity if Virginia OK okay how many hours of life just sort of high school where pitched a perfect candidate Steve. We have the edge off that non unbelievable you know let's the mentality that symbolizes. That's and I determination and it's obviously two things too as well. Just like my my mentors one totally changed to mention my old de baseball coach and who taught me you know. How to even six in my hand you know some unbelievable stuff foot. My career in baseball itself still fled and was open one data actually. You know be signed by the Red Sox is when I was seventeen and so those China offered. Different teams pitch and then 92 and before you're not going to college intentional bit harder and hopefully get tested for it. I just wasn't enough so I always wanted to send. A letter there's Sox. You know get a contract for a dollar. And I got shares soaring yeah that's extra dollar on history guys got the platform now I had. Crazy right here any day today. Do you model your game after you say you like Kimberly righty lefty when Hillary yes I'm not so overpowering like them bomb again numerous pitches those so. Curb boss fired reason you know knuckle curve balls change notes everything and I took topic aside arm. So it's a six pictures. Missed on batters and that you use of the price and it. As a result while I hear this talked to him out back is the series is about knuckle laws that Volvo has been a huge part of your life. Yes but not done them from western dances so. We succumb often and a when delve from what's the thing you're doing work and are all there wasn't in the zone boxing guys out there Jeff feared and if there's one for you. Doctorate and tell us about stem cell transplants in what's involved and what you hopeful accomplishment. Well of course what we hope to accomplish is to cure. The disease which. In in many cases is not curable without the transplant. JJ actually had two different types of transplants at first was an apologist transplant. And they had this strategy is to really just administer a higher dose of chemotherapy thing you can conventionally do that the problem with. High doses of chemotherapy is that they damaged the bone marrow. If we try and do that. Without the stem cell component. The bone marrow won't recover which is which is not a situation where 1 PM so we take some of the bone marrow out before hand. Or what we hope referral bullets themselves and freeze them in liquid nitrogen 276. Degrees below zero. And save them and they given the high dose chemotherapy and then. Infuse this themselves later on to multiple accounts to recover. And that worked for awhile. But unfortunately the disease came back. And so we had a different strategy the second term that's ultimately to make transplant unfortunately. I JJ matches is further Wayne. And Wayne was good enough to donate his themselves and so this is a different strategy came in here. We're trying to do is hit is take advantage the immune system queens immune system. To target the lymphoma to eradicate the same way that your. In his system would eradicate. An infection influence or strippers or picture so. It's it's a different approach and it has different pros and cons to it but he's done fantastically well that would actually with both of them. You can see in the seventy pound spare cash just. Yeah. Houston team today. You know it JJ you have. Really direct efficient quote love it I you say you stay positive. By thinking quote someone has it worse. Just elaborate on out of business of really. Really powerful way of looking at every game that etiquette you get here. Apple. I mean this were as tough as you know. For us deal it's hope each other out. It is. Really big time. It's my ultimate goal on life Vista to upload those others so just slightly and our house walking here from the fiery. I've read a step aside in from the Iraqi buildings and this woman actually headphones offer wheelchair Dan. Talk well so now has orders. This whole of one but I don't know home she falls and and once this crisis situation. Don't grow its it's touching. And exactly that someone has a worse I mean I did it helps me to float away. I mean I know I have it bad for them one through. NIC in particular any one of these little one's commons today. Tom to have to fight this it's this it's really stand out. So as ours it's there you know this Hosni keep on two on with. You were there today. Cracked down now or either today. Today and listen a little follow. You know. My team of doctors is a support to say that way. You know bunnies there's his doctor hopes notes due to Pakistan and down. That team doctors there it's. Completely attitude labs today mixture of things OK and working well down. That that are adjusted things to obviously through through. And and that knowledge is unbelievable it's it's very it was priceless. And in comfort for those who are donating here verges founder. Her touched a lot of people's lives and families you know comment on one plus to go through on this experience and a just keep a way to do and I can't. What's that's. JJ immerse doc Trenton it's great to meet both be by the way much respect for the old school Ted Williams church that's. Watch much respect for that information we liked analyzing its it was great to meet you as you like it here doctor thank you very much as well you're welcome thank you for thank you guys both very much JJ emerged. Also joining us doctor Joseph written.