Rich Van Gerpen (Seattle Fire) Needs Transplant

Rich VanGerpen Needs Our Help


Those of you who know Rich Van Gerpen know that he is probably the last person to ever ask anyone for help.  

Rich spent 35 years giving to others as a Seattle Firefighter before retiring in 2014 but the giving didn't stop when he left the fire station.  Rich is always somebody who will assist others in need whether it's mowing their lawn, helping them move, roofing their house, or helping them install a water heater.  Rich makes friends everywhere he goes and always greets people with a smile.  Rich goes out of his way to assist strangers almost daily and you can't go to a store without him helping somebody get something off the shelve or putting away their grocery cart.

Rich has spend his entire life giving to others and now he needs our help.

At his yearly physical in September Rich was informed that he had extremely low white blood count. In the past month his world has been turned upside-down.  Rich has been diagnosed with MDS, Myelodysplastic Syndrome. 

After seeing an oncologist in Wenatchee, Rich was sent to see a Bone Marrow Transplant Dr. at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. 

After consulting with multiple Doctors it was determined that the best course of action was to have a Bone Marrow Transplant.  Saddly, Rich's siblings are not matches for the transplant and we are searching databases for a donor.  If you are not already registered please  click on the link below and register today to take the simple cotton swap test.
Be the Match Bone Marrow Registry 

Rich is currently undergoing Chemo Treatments and will continue until his body goes into remission and he is eligible for a bone marrow transplant. 

One of the causes of MDS  is  being exposed to certain toxic chemicals, such as benzene.  Firefighters are exposed to toxic chemicals on a regular basis during firefighting duties.  Rich was stationed at Seattle Fire Station 31 for 9 years.   Fire Station 31 was evacuated  with the help of Seattle Firefighters, IAFF,  Local 27 after it was discovered that very high numbers of Firefighters who worked at 31's have come down with multiple kinds of illnesses related to chemical and mold exposure.  If you are on this page because you worked with Rich or were assigned to Fire Station 31 please email his son, Los Angeles City Fire Captain Adam VanGerpen at: [email redacted]

To read an article about Fire Station 31 being evacuated after toxins tests please click on the link below. 

Rich and Mary will be staying in Seattle for 3-4 months and  will have to be closely monitored for about 100 days post transplant.  A lot of things need to fall into place, and we are trusting  in God that it will! Rich is staying very positive and has an optimistic attitude.

If you would like to follow a weekly journal of Rich's progress fighting this devastating illness please join his Caring Bridge Account by clicking the link below. 
Rich VanGerpen Caring Bridge 

Any funds received will be used to assist in paying for  medical and living expenses.  Certain medications can cost up to $1400 per month and Rich and Mary will need to stay in Seattle full time for up to 4 months away from their home.  Rich also retired 6 years ago and even though he had a notice 3 years ago of Pansidopenia or low white blood cell count, he will likely have to fight to receive L&I or Workers Compensation Benefits.

We appreciate your support, words of hope, encouragement, and prayers.  Please show Rich how much he means to us and how loved he is.  
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Organizer and beneficiary

Adam VanGerpen 
Seattle, WA
Mary Van Gerpen 
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