Army Pilot Searching For Stem Cell Transplant

By Arezow Doost, CBS 11 News

FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) – Terry Harsh is looking forward to this weekend. The 41-year-old Army pilot will be in the area for a bone marrow drive in the hopes of finding a match for a stem cell transplant.

Harsh has served three tours in Iraq, but he’s now fighting his hardest battle.

“I rather be in Iraq,” Harsh said via SKYPE from Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

In June, Harsh discovered he has an aggressive form of lymphoma, a cancer that attacks cells in the immune system. He’s been undergoing chemotherapy since June, but needs a stem cell transplant to be cured.

“As the treatment failed I think the gravity of the situation the intimidation of the word cancer sunk in,” Harsh said.

The father of three is now commuting every week to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Because no one in his family is a match, his best chance of finding one with his Swiss, Slovenian and German background is through the match registry.

“We really need to get thousands of people tested that have my ethnic background to even give me a shot to give me a match,” Harsh said.

Amy Guest from Frisco is determined to help her friend. She went to high school with Harsh’s wife Nancy.

“It really struck me,” Guest said. “It struck a chord with me because I thought, gosh, that could me my husband or my child.”

Guest has organized a bone marrow drive Sunday in Frisco, hoping to get as many people as possible to sign up. She spent the week putting together 400 kits for possible donors.

“We are hoping and praying that we find a match for Terry,” Guest said. “Even more than that I think about all the other people that we might help too.”

Right now there’s a list of 15 million people in the national registry database who can provide stem cells to stimulate a cancer patient’s immune system.

Amy hopes she can increase her friend’s chances and actually find a match.

“It can very well be the difference in whether I make it or not,” says Harsh “How hopeful am I very it’s all I’ve got.”

Sunday’s drive will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Faithbridge Presbyterian Church, located at 10930 College Parkway in Frisco. Contact Clifford Ackerman, North Texas recruitment coordinator, at 214-820-1589 for more information.

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  • Doug V.

    I have had my DNA done to determine my genealogical history. If its possible can I have the Lab forward my possible match?


    • Amy Guest

      Please contact Cliff Ackerman at Be The Match Dallas at (214) 820-1589
      to find out if this is a possibility. Thank you so much!
      Amy Guest

      • Dave

        HI Amy,
        I also am a pilot awaiting a stem cell transplant. I am keen to know how Terry gets on. I hope it works out.

  • Neil Lowry

    Is there a drive after Sunday that I can go to? I would like to help as soon as possible.

    • Amy Guest

      Hi Neil!
      Yes! There are numerous drives around the metroplex (go to to check on location and times) coming up OR you can contact Cliff Ackerman at (214) 820-1589 with Be THe Match org. We are leaving Terry’s drive open as a walk in drive through the end of February, so that others who could not make the drive or did not know about it, can still get registered. If you live near Frisco, I am happy to get you registered as well. Cliff can give me your contact info. Thanks for being willing to help.
      Amy Guest

  • Cheyenne

    Abby Burns, a softball player at Texas Woman’s University, was recently diagnosed with Leukemia (AML). We are having a blood drive and bone marrow registry on campus this Wednesday, February 2, from 9:30-3:30. Hopefully we can find a match for both Abby and Terry!!

  • Amy Guest

    Good luck Cheyenne…I hope the drive goes smoothly, you have a huge turnout and Abby finds her match! Amy Guest

  • Flip H.

    I went to high school with Terry and will be looking to do something in my area (Seattle). We don’t share all the same background, but the German part is in common.


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