Ray and his sister before his transplant surgery

Ray and his family find support at home and in Texas

Kenaé Jumper’s husband Ray was diagnosed with leukemia in April of 2011. His medical oncologist, Sumeet Bhatia, MD, an MD Anderson Cancer Network® certified physician, told them that Ray would require a bone marrow transplant. 

Searching for a bone marrow donor

Kenaé, a 15-year Community Health Network nurse practitioner and mother of two, remembers the search for a donor began immediately. In 2012, they thought their prayers for a match had been answered, but the donor ended up falling through. Dr. Bhatia encouraged them to consider a different type of transplant, happening at MD Anderson Cancer Center© in Houston, Texas, that allowed siblings who were only half matches of the patient to donate bone marrow.

Yet, the cost of the procedure went beyond the treatment itself—going to Houston would require the Jumpers to secure housing for Ray for 100 days after the transplant. It was a price the family could not afford.

“Money was an obstacle to care,” Kenaé said. “To not be able to do anything—it’s crushing.”

While housing assistance is offered by MD Anderson, the wait list to receive it was lengthy. The Jumpers continued to wait for a traditional bone marrow donor match.

For a couple of years, Ray underwent prolonged chemotherapy under the care of Dr. Bhatia and Community nurse practitioners. Periodically, he also received consultations from one of the leading leukemia specialists at MD Anderson.

Finding a way to Houston

At an appointment in late 2015, Dr. Bhatia again brought up the MD Anderson transplant option. When he learned that cost was the factor hindering the family from getting this much-needed care for Ray, he quickly put them in touch with a Community nurse navigator and a social worker, who connected the family with Community's Foundation.

The Foundation quickly approved the support for the Jumpers, providing enough funds to ensure Ray’s housing was covered each month. Kenaé only needed to provide the contract and billing information for Ray’s housing, and the rest of the process was handled by the Foundation.

When Kenaé learned that Community Health Network Foundation would provide financial support to enable Ray to receive the life-saving treatment he needed, she was shocked.

“I didn’t even know resources were available to Community employees,” she said. “It was amazing, astonishing even, that we were able to get help in this way.”

Ray left for Houston in March of 2016. His sister, who lives in Dallas, helped to care for him and served as the bone marrow donor when the transplant took place in April.

The procedure went as planned, and Ray responded well to the treatment. Kenaé flew to Houston and spent a month with her husband following the procedure, and their children were able to stay in Houston with their father for two months during the summer. Kenaé traveled back and forth between Indianapolis and Houston until Ray was able to return home in late July.

Exceptional care in Indy and Houston

Today, Ray continues to do well, returning every two months to Houston and every two weeks at Community for follow-up appointments.

As they look back on the last year, Ray and Kenaé cannot help but be overwhelmed by the support the Foundation was able to offer them—all thanks to generous donors from around our community.

“Without the Foundation, Ray would not have gotten this transplant,” said Kenaé. “There is no way financially we would have been able to do this alone. Community was instrumental in making this happen, and, because of donor support, my husband’s life was spared.”