Donuts help woman battle leukemia

Co-workers and friends are rallying financial support for a Federal Way woman facing a bone marrow transplant in her battle against leukemia.

Debbie Joaquin, mother of five children, was diagnosed last year with the disease. Last week, she began a series of tests and radiation and chemotherapy treatment heading up to the transplant June 14 at the University of Washington Hospital.

After the surgery, she’ll spend three months in Seattle receiving more treatment at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. A fund-raising drive is underway to help her pay for a place to stay and cover the travel expenses of her bone marrow donor, her brother, who lives in Texas.

The goal of the campaign, dubbed “Donuts for Debbie,” is to sell 1,500 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts. Orders are being accepted at 945-3803, the number at Sherwood Forest Elementary School, where orders can be picked up this Friday afternoon from 3:45 to 6. They can also be picked up the same day at Illahee Junior High School from 1 to 5 p.m. and at the main Washington State Bank branch in Federal Way. In addition, the bank is accepting donations for the Friends of Debbie Fund.

The donuts are selling for $6 a dozen; $3.25 per dozen will benefit Joaquin, said Cindy Canfield, a friend of the woman and a fellow paraeducator at Sherwood Forest.

She said the hoped-for donut proceeds of nearly $5,000 will be applied toward expenses that aren’t covered by Joaquin’s health insurance and $4,000 raised last year in a garage sale at the school.

“Debbie is a wonderful person. We all want to help her,” said Canfield, whose own sister survived breast cancer. Now their mother is battling bone cancer.

Joaquin said she is “just overwhelmed” by the support of Canfield and others. “They’re truly good friends.”

Also in Joaquin’s corner is her brother, David, whose bone marrow is the best match for her among her three siblings. He arrived in Seattle last Wednesday to begin pre-transplant procedures.

Joaquin, a native of Hawaii, met her husband, John, when he was stationed there as a Marine. Since moving to Washington, she’s been busy raising a family, being a grandmother and working at Sherwood Forest, where her duties include playground supervision and tutoring students.

“I miss working with all the staff. Sherwood Forest is a great school,” she said.

Editor Pat Jenkins can be reached at 925-5565 and

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