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Ongoing blood drive being held in memory of woman with rare blood disease

December 02, 2011|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — An effort to replace the 500 units of blood given to a Charles Town woman over her lifetime already is showing promise that it will succeed, the woman's husband said Wednesday.

Lee Snyder, whose wife, Cynthia, died July 6 at the age of 58 after a lifelong battle with Diamond Blackfan Anemia (DBA), said a blood drive held in her name in mid-November bought in more than 50 units of blood.

Cynthia Snyder was diagnosed with the rare disease when she was 6 weeks old.

DBA, named for the physicians who described it in 1938, is the failure of bone marrow to produce red blood cells. Regular blood transfusions are the usual treatment although some drugs have been effective at putting Snyder's disease into remission — one drug for 10 years, another for 11 years, her husband said.

Cynthia Snyder succeeded at trying to live a normal life despite her medical problems. She taught elementary school for 10 years and ran her own flower business in Ranson, W.Va., after that.

"She's had lots of challenges in her life," Lee Snyder said.

He owns Snyder Environmental, a Jefferson County business. Snyder and several relatives organized the November blood drive as an ongoing event that won't end until the 500 units his wife was given over the years has been replaced, he said. It was held at his business on Industrial Boulevard in Kearneysvile, W.Va.

"I was impressed with the turnout and with the commitment to Cynthia's memory," he said. "I'm confident that with the help of others, we will succeed in reaching 500 units."

In addition to the 54 units that were given the day of the drive, another 40 to 50 units have been donated since, he said.

Members of St. James Catholic Church in Charles Town are planning a blood drive in her name Dec. 14. First Baptist Church on King Street in Martinsburg, W.Va., is planning one sometime this winter, Snyder said.

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