I wear many hats as I am a:
mom of 6
child of God
founder of a nonprofit organization
former MPN patient for 10 years
stem cell transplant survivor
About MPN Peoria Founder
Dr. Michele Couri
My introduction into the MPN world came in late 2010 at the age of 40 when I was diagnosed with Polycythemia Vera, a type of rare blood cancer called MPN (myeloproliferative neoplasm). I was able to live with this disease until 2020 when it progressed to a more advanced and life-threatening form called Myelofibrosis. With no options left for any long term survival, I had to face my worst nightmare -- I was told that I needed a stem cell (bone marrow) transplant. I have always faced every challenge that life has thrown at me with “quiet strength”, and I made up my mind that this journey would be no different. I trusted in God’s plan for me and completely surrendered to Him my fear, knowing that He is in control.
Being of Lebanese descent and because there is a paucity of ethnic donors in the bone marrow registry, a perfectly “matched” stem cell donor was not found. And, unfortunately, none of my five siblings were a match for me either. By the grace of God, I was connected to a transplant physician at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida who was willing to use one of our children as a “half-matched” or haploid donor. Our beautiful daughter Mia, at age 16, was found to be the most suitable donor for me and on November 18, 2020, millions of her stem cells were infused through a port in my chest in hopes of saving my life. After spending nearly 30 days in the hospital and an additional 3 months recuperating in an apartment in Jacksonville, I was able to be reunited with my husband and children after being given a second chance at life.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think about how fortunate I am to have survived the transplant. I had started MPN Peoria in 2019 as a patient wanting to do everything I could to make a difference in the lives of those of us living with this disease. I continue MPN Peoria now as a survivor of this disease, and it is an honor and a privilege to continue to advocate for MPN patients, ultimately wanting to see the day that through continued research and novel therapies, MPNs will be a disease of the past.
To raise awareness and funding for Myeloproliferative Neoplasms,
a group of blood cancers
including polycythemia vera (PV),
essential thrombocythemia (ET) and myelofibrosis (MF).
Our primary goal is to be able to financially support research for new treatments and ultimately for a cure for MPNs, all the while supporting and empowering those afflicted by the disease.