Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


January 23, 2014

Finding her match

Andover mother seeking stem cell transplant for daughter

Tina Habeeb met one of her neighbors on Saturday morning. But it wasn’t on her street while she was out for a walk or at the local convenience store.

It was at Latitude Sports Club in Methuen, where Habeeb was helping run the “Be The Match” Bone Marrow Registry Drive on behalf of her daughter, Cathy Sheehan of Boxford, who is in need of a stem cell match to help cure her leukemia.

The neighbor was prompted to show up after reading a story on the bone marrow registry drive last week in The Townsman’s sister paper, The Eagle-Tribune,

“She had seen me around,” Habeeb said. “And she decided to come here, give a mouth swab and meet me. It was special.”

Nine months ago, Habeeb’s only daughter, Cathy, a 44-year-old, married mother of three complained of always being tired.

“I told her, ‘No kidding! You work five jobs!” recalled Habeeb, referring to her daughter’s job as account manager with Hewlett-Packard as well as her part-time work teaching spin classes for 11 years at Latitude Sports Club in Salisbury.

After returning from a vacation and still struggling with fatigue, Sheehan, who lives in Boxford, went to the doctor on a Friday for blood tests. The doctor immediately ruled out mononucleosis, but told her further testing would occur over the weekend.

On Monday, while at the hairdresser, Sheehan’s doctor called her cellphone and told her that she had acute myeloid leukemia and needed to get to the hospital immediately.

Fast-forward nine months.

Habeeb read with great interest an inspiring story in The Eagle-Tribune a few weeks ago about a 22-year-old Plaistow, N.H., native who gave up the end of his college track career to go through the painful process of donating 2 quarts of bone marrow to a complete stranger with hopes of curing a rare form of leukemia.

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