WESTFIELD, NJ — Darren Lederman, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, received a bone marrow transplant in May thanks to a total stranger. But Lederman, a Westfield father of two, isn’t out of the woods yet. Due to complications, he is currently in the hospital again.

“Darren has been suffering from the horrible life-threatening chronic graft versus host disease,” his wife, Stacey Lederman, said. “Graft versus host disease can happen in many places throughout the body, with the gut area being the most complex. Unfortunately, Darren has GVHD of the gut and GI tract and his is very severe, according to his new team of doctors. GVHD of the gut used to be the wasting away disease and that honestly describes Darren's 86-pound weakened body.

“Since leaving the hospital after his transplant, Darren has returned to the ER and bone marrow transplant floor countless times. He came home in October with a home nurse once a week, physical therapy three times a week and doctor appointments at least twice a week,” she said. “He was hooked up to an IV 24/7 and I quickly learned how to be a nurse. Unfortunately, on Hanukkah as the kids were celebrating the holiday, Darren's health took a horrible and drastic turn. Through many tears, scared children and heartbreaks, he was rushed to the ER. Today marks three weeks that he has been in the hospital and he may not return home for another four weeks.”

Sign Up for E-News

In addition to GVHD, her husband now now has a very serious, dangerous and life-threatening infection in his blood and stomach lining, she said.

“He is being closely monitored as medicines for one infection can increase the effects of the other. He is still unable to hold down any food and even a sip of water causes major stomach issues,” Stacey Lederman explained. “He is on IV nutrients and medications 24/7, receives hours of IV antibiotics, blood transfusions, shots to increase his white count, etc. The doctors also need to make sure his kidneys stay flushed as the new infection can cause kidney failure. As this isn't enough, Darren fell in the hospital last week and broke a rib.”

With severe illness comes financial worries, so members of the community are donating via YouCaring.com to help the family pay their bills. To contribute, click here. You can also follow their story and find other ways to help by liking the Lederman Strong Facebook page.

Earlier this year, many members of the community purchased “Lederman Strong” t-shirts to help fundraise and show their support.

“My best friend from college, Sandy Saval, was the brains behind the Lederman Strong t-shirts,” Stacey Lederman said. “She felt that if Darren saw people wearing them, he would gain some much needed internal strength to continue fighting this horrible disease.”