Howard boy's plight inspires charity

January 18, 1993|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

Neighbors, local food stores and the Clarksville fire department have united to raise money for a 3-year-old Columbia boy who has spent much of his life in hospitals undergoing treatment for cancer.

Ross Cochran of Kings Contrivance village received a bone marrow transplant Friday at Johns Hopkins Hospital, a procedure intended to wipe out the cancerous cells in his body. The procedure follows two attempts to eradicate the cancer through chemotherapy treatments over the last 15 months.

Even with insurance covering most of the costs, the bone marrow transplant and the six- to eight-week hospital stay required for the procedure are too expensive for his parents, Dan and Lori Cochran.

So the Cochrans' neighbors, Russ and Colette Lease, have organized a pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Clarksville Fire Hall to raise money to help the family.

The hall is at 12335 Clarksville Pike, the intersection of routes 108 and 32.

The transplant cost about $150,000, and the hospital stay costs more than $1,000 per day, said Mrs. Cochran. Ross was admitted to the hospital in Baltimore on Jan. 4.

"Any help is greatly appreciated," said Mrs. Cochran. "We weren't expecting this at all."

Ross was diagnosed with large cell lymphoma in October 1991. He had chemotherapy treatment for one year, but suffered a relapse. A more intensive chemotherapy program didn't succeed, so doctors decided to perform a bone marrow transplant.

Four days of intense chemotherapy and four days of full-body radiation preceded the transplant, in which Ross's own bone marrow was extracted and injected back into his body.

The radiation treatment left Ross's body unable to fight infections, which required placing him in an isolated room in the hospital.

Mrs. Cochran has taken a leave of absence from her job as a nurse at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore to care for Ross. Mr. Cochran works as an engineer at S3 Technologies in Columbia. The couple's families are helping out, but they live in Pittsburgh and Florida.

Ross is an active boy who "likes boy things," said Mrs. Cochran. "He does all the normal things kids do."

He likes to play ball and enjoys watching sports on television, especially football and baseball. He likes playing with cars and trucks.

"He's a really sweet kid. The whole thing has devastated everyone in the community who knows him," said Mr. Lease.

Ross's 2-year-old sister, Kristin, misses her brother, said Mrs. Cochran. "They're only 16 months apart. They've been best buddies forever and now they're separated. She misses him a lot."

Tickets for the breakfast are $5, with children under 12 admitted free.

Tickets are available at Sneakers Pub in the Long Reach Village Center and at Michael's Pub in the Kings Contrivance Village Center. They also may be purchased by calling Mr. Lease at 301-604-3015 at home or 410-792-2829 at work.

Raffle tickets are $1 and the drawing is scheduled for noon. The top prize is $300 of sportswear from Pants Plus, a Landover store owned by Mr. Lease.

The Clarksville fire department donated use of its hall for the breakfast, and the department's ladies auxiliary has volunteered to do the cooking. Giant Food, Safeway and Valu Food donated groceries.

Patti Lavanceau of Dayton, Janice Linder of Marriottsville, a nurse who works with Mrs. Cochran, and Mike and Michele Micek of Columbia have helped solicit donations and sell raffle tickets.

Those wishing to contribute may send a check made out to the Ross Cochran Bone Marrow Transplant Fund to P.O. Box 84, Savage, MD 20763. An account has been established at Maryland National Bank.

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