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'Night of Hope' to help fund transplant

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

ALBANY, Ga. -- Kristi Childress of Albany is expected to undergo a bone marrow transplant in February to combat a variety of medical issues.

To help finance that medical procedure, a group of Childress' friends have arranged "Night of Hope," an evening of Christmas music and drama Saturday at Gillionville Baptist Church.

The event begins at 6 p.m. Admission is free and all ages are invited.

The church is at 4614 Gillionville Road.

A love offering will be taken at the end of the program help with the costs associated with Childress' bone marrow transplant.

Childress will perform at the program, along with Mike Sauls, Lauren Stotler, Anthony Ray, Mandy Kavanaugh, John Miller, Joseph Haefs, Gillionville Baptist Church's Children's Drama Department and others.

A live nativity scene will be a part of the program.

"This is a dream of mine to be able to do something like this," Childress said. "This is not about me or my condition, but about celebrating the true meaning of Christmas with friends and family."

Childress sings in the choir at Gillionville Baptist Church.

"She started singing in the church when she was four years old," said Neal Childress, her husband.

Childress, 33, was diagnosed with systemic lupus 12 years ago, just two weeks after she and Neal were married.

In 2008, Childress was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis and in 2009 was diagnosed with lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma.

"I have undergone eight cycles of chemotherapy and now need a stem cell/bone marrow transplant," Childress posted on her Caring Bridge website, www.caringbridge.org/visit/kristiechildress.

"They have found a perfect match for me and we anticipate the transplant taking place in Febrtuary 2011 in Tampa, Fla.," she said.