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Franklin County commissioner receives good news after bone-marrow transplant

Thomas says blood counts are increasing dramatically

August 06, 2013|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • Franklin County (Pa.) Commissioner Robert L. "Bob" Thomas gets a playful pat on the head from his daughter, Bobbie Brown, who donated bone marrow to help treat her father's myelodysplastic syndrome.
Submitted photo

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Franklin County (Pa.) Commissioner Robert L. “Bob” Thomas said he has been receiving good news as he recovers from a bone-marrow transplant.

Thomas, who has myelodysplastic syndrome, wrote in an email that his blood counts are increasing dramatically. He will be tested this week to ensure the new blood cells are related to his daughter’s donated marrow and not his own.

“My doctor believes the new cells are likely hers, based on the quickness of my increase of numbers,” Thomas said.

Myelodysplastic syndrome is a blood and bone-marrow disease in which the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells. Symptoms include being tired, and easy bruising or bleeding.

Thomas, 58, underwent a bone-marrow transplant July 9 at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. His daughter, Bobbie Brown, donated the marrow.

Brown “is a little sore, but is doing well and has been back to work,” Thomas said.

Although Thomas has been discharged from the hospital, he and his wife, Sherryl, are staying nearby so they can access doctors and the clinic that does daily blood tests.

“They look at the blood’s chemistry and almost daily change or adjust my medications, which are many,” Thomas said.

Thomas called his wife his hero and praised her caregiving.

This is not the first time Thomas has been treated for a blood disorder. In January 2010, he was diagnosed with aplastic anemia and received treatment at Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center.

Thomas, a Republican, was first elected to the board of commissioners in 1995 and was re-elected to a fifth term in 2011. Prior to that, he served on the Chambersburg Borough Council and had been a radio executive.

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