Update on former Clemson QB Randy Anderson

by - Senior Writer -
Randy Anderson at a recent Clemson Sons flag football game.

As many of you know, former Clemson quarterback Randy Anderson (1984-87) is battling acute leukemia, and because so many people have wondered about the details and have asked how they could help, I reached out to Randy’s wife Angelia for further information.

I go to church with Randy, and what most people don’t realize is that the leukemia he is battling now is a result of the multiple myeloma he battled back in 2005. Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell normally responsible for the production of antibodies. Collections of abnormal cells accumulate in bones, where they cause bone lesions, and in the bone marrow where they interfere with the production of normal blood cells. 

Randy had a stem cell transplant done in 2005, and from what I understand, the chemo he underwent at that time has caused the leukemia, something that only happens in two to three percent of people who undergo the procedure.

Randy is currently looking for a donor for another stem cell transplant, and there is hope that one might have been found. If that doesn’t work out, there is going to be a donor drive to see if someone can be found that would be a match for him.

We are working on getting an address for Randy in case you want to send well wishes and cards, but in the meantime you can email Angelia and Randy at bethebest17@yahoo.com. Randy is also insistent that he wants to continue with his speaking ministry, and we will have more information available in the updates if someone wants him to speak to their church group. Also, if you think you have a way to help, please feel free to email me at davidhood@tigernet.com, and I will coordinate with the church and the family.

I am attaching a letter than Randy and Angelia have written to their friends:

Greetings in the name of our Jesus who is the mighty Conqueror and victorious Warrior!

 I have to start this correspondence with our appreciation and overwhelmed feeling of family and loving support as each of you have shown for us during the past 2 months. With overflowing hearts of gratitude and love for you, we say thank you very much for all the cards, phone calls offering support, and mostly tearful, heart-wrenching prayers that I know you have been sending to our Father on our behalf. And, I can't leave out the couple of phone calls with a serenade of "I Thank You," and "Worthy is the Lamb." Oh, my, how Randy was lifted and refreshed as he heard those sweet voices sing to him acappella.

 Although we couldn't have many visitors during most of the time we were in the hospital, we have a few who went above and beyond the call to stay a couple of nights, empty the urinal a dozen times a night, bring Cheezits and Jello, share a wonderful Healing Music CD, and lay hands (wrapped in blue hospital gloves) on him during the more difficult times. We also had special church family who took time out of their busy schedules to play with Baby Girl to give my Mom a break. And, speaking of Mom, what a blessing to have had her just a few steps away to stay with Savannah during this whole process and give the baby a sense of normalcy. She has been a God-sent helper during this and was there for us even when we went through the whole Little Rock (Myeloma) ordeal as well.

 The details are this: Randy was diagnosed (after a month of hemoglobin problems) with Acute Leukemia which has occurred from the chemo from the two transplants in 2006. This only happens to 2-3% of transplant patients. He had Multiple Myeloma at the end of 2005 and the Lord healed him and it hasn't shown up again since that time (through 6-month check-ups). This time, things were different. The Leukemia was growing at a rapid pace and had moved from 0% to 60% in 1 1/2 months. After our first week in the hospital and the week of intensive chemo and much prayer, the Leukemia is gone and we will be planning on a stem cell transplant in the near future. The plan is to go to Houston (M.D. Anderson Hospital) next week for preliminary testing for transplant and then be home for at least 6 weeks before returning there for the transplant.

 Randy has 5 siblings but none of them were a "close-enough" match so we may have found a donor from the National Donor Registry and the Houston hospital will be doing further testing on that donor(s) to narrow down the parameters to choose the most appropriate person. Our 2nd option is to use "cord blood" which is the umbilical cord from newborns. To accommodate Randy's size, we would need two cords. Our 3rd option for transplant is using one of this three brothers who are 50% matches. Randy has a few more stem cells frozen and stored but the doctor (Frits van Rhee) doesn't recommend that type of transplant except in last option because there is a chance the same thing could occur again because the first two transplants (in 2006) came from the same stem cells (his own-after chemo).

 Randy came home from the hospital Tuesday afternoon after being there since May 17th and he is feeling wonderful and back to work, fishing, etc. He is not allowed to play golf at this time, so don't ask him. (just a little humor--it's too hot outside and we want to be as careful and cautious as possible for a while.)

 Our immediate plan and priority today is to book appointments with M.D. Anderson Hospital for next week so we can get the donor testing underway and then we will need to fly there next week for the testing. We will be talking with the airlines today (Friday) to see what they have available and we need to find housing for this next week in Houston (maybe just 3-4 nights). My mom will keep the baby here for this trip but we plan on taking both of them with us when we go back for the transplant. Please help us pray for favor with the airlines and with the hospital appointments and with housing needs.

 I know many, many of you have been asking about the possibility of registering on the donor registry and this is what we've been told: right now, our doctor thinks we may have a good-enough match already on the registry so we are sitting still and waiting on God to work. We will be testing extended family in the next couple of days but that can be done online and is a very simple process to pre-test. If Houston isn't comfortable with the donors they have found, we will be doing donor drives and online registering. If we get to that point, I promise, I will get announcements made and we'll have a major donor drive at Praise and we'll include our community churches as well. We will also do a donor drive at Clemson and one in Spartanburg/Cowpens. We want to say thank you so much for your willingness to give that part of your life to help us. The process for a donor is fairly simple, but it takes a special person and a special willingness.

 Our need for the future (transplant time) is to find appropriate housing in Houston in close proximity to the hospital since Randy will be there for a minimum of two months for the actual transplant. The transplant could take place as soon as 6 weeks from now or possibly as long as 90 days from now. We will be driving there and taking my mom and the baby since we will be there for so long. My mom and Savannah will be staying at the temporary home and I'll be back and forth to the hospital, possibly coming and going some late at night. Therefore, we will need to consider safety and cleanliness (lack of germs for Randy's condition at the time). A one-bedroom would work since Randy would be at the hospital. Please be in prayer with us about this need.

We have missed you all so much and look forward to being together again in the midst of worshiping our Savior. Again, thank you for all you have done and all your loving prayers you have prayed on our behalf.

 Randy, Angelia and Savannah

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