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Fund established for Smithsburg man who has leukemia

April 07, 2000

 



How you can help

Send contributions to the Elliott Viar fund

First United Bank & Trust

Elliott Viar Fund

100 S. Main St.

Smithsburg, Md. 21783

For information, call Samantha Huntsberry, 1-888-692-2654.

By KATE COLEMAN / Staff Writer

"Whatever it takes."

That's Elliott Viar's approach to his treatment for leukemia. The 21-year-old Smithsburg resident was diagnosed Jan. 24. He was feeling really tired for a couple of months - so tired he could hardly stand, he said.

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He spent a month receiving chemotherapy at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. The treatment wasn't too bad, according to Viar. He felt 10 times better on chemo than he did before the treatment began, he explained.

Viar was at home for a few weeks with his fiance, Jessie Kennedy, and their 9-month-old daughter, Kaylin. He was feeling "normal" when he headed back to Hopkins March 30 for another month of treatment. "They build you up so they can knock you down," he said. But he called the care he's receiving "outrageously good."

After another month "off" following this round of chemo, Viar hopes to be facing a bone-marrow transplant. "I'd do it in a heartbeat," he said.

His brother and sister were tested to see if they could donate their bone marrow, but they are not suitable matches. A match has been found through a national registry. Now funds are needed to do the special testing to verify the match, according to Dr. Douglas Smith, Viar's physician at Hopkins.

Leukemia usually strikes young children and older adults, Smith said. The choice of the high-risk, difficult treatment provides hope of a cure, but Viar is facing a very long road, Smith said.

The cost of Viar's treatment is estimated at about $1 million. Employed in the drywall business owned by his stepfather, Doug Stanley, Viar has no health insurance. Medical expenses are above and beyond his regular bills - house and car payments, caring for his child. He hopes to be back to work by August, but bills won't wait. "Mom and Doug have been real helpful," Viar said. But they can't do it all.

Her son has worked hard since he was a kid with a paper route, said Debbie Stanley, Viar's mom. She's worried about his health and about him losing everything he's worked for. She wants to "fix it" and can't, so she's focusing on doing what she can do - trying to raise funds to help her son financially.

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