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West Palm Beach mother seeks stem cell donor to save her life

Jan 23, 2024 by Gift of Life News

Rose (r) is battling acute myeloid leukemia and urgently needs a stem cell transplant from a matching donor. Her daughter Taylor (l), a University of South Florida student, was recently diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. 


Rose Bradwell is a 47-year-old wife and mom of three girls aged 18, 16, 13, and has a fulfilling career in the medical field. In 2020, Rose felt unwell and went to the emergency room to be tested for tonsillitis. There, she received the worst possible news – she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and was immediately transferred to the oncology department, given a bone marrow biopsy, and began chemotherapy.

To defeat AML and recover her health, Rose needs a peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) or marrow transplant from a donor who shares her same tissue type. None of her siblings are a close enough match to donate – about 70% of patients do not have a match within their family.

Rose’s best chance of a match is with someone who shares her genetic heritage. As her ancestry is Haitian, her donor will most likely be of Haitian or African descent.

Like 71% of Black blood cancer patients, Rose does not currently have a match in the worldwide registry either, and the search has been ongoing since 2021. Many more Black donors are needed in the registry, not just for Rose, but also for thousands of patients who are currently seeking donors.

“I just kind of stay in the moment,” said Rose. “I try not to focus on the long haul and instead go day-by-day.”

Rose’s husband and biggest cheerleader, TJ, has been by her side throughout this entire journey.

“We are grateful for the exceptional care and support Rose has received from her healthcare team and our wider community,” said T.J. “We urge anyone who is able to join the registry and be the hero we need and help save her life.”

A second shock to the family

Unfortunately, the Bradwell’s beautiful family received additional bad news: Rose’s eldest daughter, Taylor, a graduate of Royal Palm Beach High School and now a student at University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a different form of blood cancer than Rose’s.

“She had been complaining off and on with weird, random symptoms for several weeks, but they occurred at random and were not very consistent,” said Rose. “One evening, she admitted to not feeling her best, so I made an appointment for the next day. The pediatrician’s office sent us to the emergency room to follow up on abnormal labs. There she was diagnosed with ALL. Imagine my disbelief after having been diagnosed with AML 20 months prior.”

Taylor does not currently need a transplant, so she focuses on spreading the word about her mother’s need for one, and the general need for Black donors to step up, help their community, and register as donors. Her activities to raise awareness of blood cancer were recently recognized by the HEADstrong Foundation, which presented her with the 2023 HEADstrong Award, recognizing students who show exceptional leadership in raising awareness and funds for cancer.

“I was able to graduate high school and walk across the stage with my peers in May 2023,” said Taylor. “I now attend USF and I continue treatment at the cancer center here.”

Rose is a proud alumna of Florida State University, and as a physician assistant, she specializes in wound care. “I chose a career in healthcare to give back to my community and to help others,” said Rose. “I love my job. I find healing wounds and improving patients’ quality of life enormously rewarding.”

You can help!  

Rose urgently needs a donor. You could be her lifesaving hero, but we can’t find you unless you join the registry. All it takes is a swab of your cheek to find out if you are a match for her or another patient in need.

Those 18-35 and in general good health can sign up by completing a short health questionnaire and a cheek swab kit.

Click here to order a swab kit to be sent to your home. By completing a short health questionnaire and the cheek swabs, you can join the registry! If you are a match for Rose or another patient, Gift of Life will contact you. 

Click here to make a gift to help sponsor the processing of cheek swab kits, so that new donors can be added to the registry.