The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


A matter of life and death

Entries from the diary of a man waiting for a bone marrow match

The phone in Bill Lutholtz' hospital room kept ringing. I was calling to ask him to write a story about his struggle with leukemia and his search to find a bone marrow donor. No answer.

So I called his pastor, Bill Novak, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Indianapolis: "Has he gone home?"

Monday morning I got a message from Novak: "Bill Lutholtz died early today." That was Nov. 6, 1995, less than five months after he learned what the "fever of unknown origin" actually was.

One of the pieces about bone marrow donation that Lutholtz--whose livelihood and love was writing--tapped out on a laptop computer from his hospital bed concludes: "If I can stir up enough interest ... I may be able to find a donor who'll help save my life. And, even if it doesn't end up helping me, it may ... help some of those thousands of other people who are going to need help." Perhaps the excerpts from Lutholtz' last article ("Bad Blood,"
Indianapolis Monthly, October 1995) will do just that.

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