Fundraiser at South Yuba Club to help Debbie Williams battle leukemia

We’ve known Tom Larsen and Debbie Williams, longtime Grass Valley residents, for a decade. I met Tom when I joined the local chapter of the Cal Berkeley alumni club to help judge scholarships for high school students who were going to Cal. Later, I headed up the program. Tom and Debbie had a regular Christmas gathering at their home, where we celebrated with Sally Harris and other local Cal grads. Now Petaluma residents, Debbie is undergoing a bone marrow transplant to battle leukemia. Tom reached out today with a request to post this fundraising event on January 21 at the South Yuba Club run by the Carville family. Proceeds will help defer Debbie’s caregiver costs. The past six months have been daunting. I’ve been in touch with Tom over the holidays, and both he and Debbie are optimistic. We send our love to both of them in the New Year.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

3 thoughts on “Fundraiser at South Yuba Club to help Debbie Williams battle leukemia”

  1. A bone marrow transplant, one of the 800 lb gorillas of medical treatments, or as I looked at it, it’s some kind of frankenstein medical procedure, but they work. In May I will be 22 years out from mine.

    These days the survival odds are much better, they have things better dialed in to control some of the complications that come up. Biggest concern in the first few years after a bmt is avoiding infection, especially during flu season, and not doing things that flare up the graft-versus-host, either one can be lethal. And then there is the whole mental side, it usually takes a year and if everything is going right, the fog of the whole procedure starts to lift, and you realize you are not the same person before all this shit happened. The body you had, the life you had, it is all different.

  2. Steve, Thanks so much for sharing that. Here’s the latest on Debbie: “Hello all. As of last night, post-transplant news was positive! Deb was resting, eating and generally feeling ok. Thumbs up!”

    1. It’s a long journey, she is in day two after getting the stem cells. In about a week she will feel like hell, a week after that you start to feel better. The stage she is in now is kind of a nail biter, her immune system is gone and she waits for engraftment of the donor stem cells, it is signaled when the white count starts ticking up. It’s a hell of a thing, sitting in the hospital with no immune system and waiting for the new one to show up. It is very important that any visitor she has must feel 100% healthy, especially in this flu season with H3N2. Even now, I stay out of crowded places during flu season.

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