Jim LaMotte is in search of a bone marrow transplant

Mike Bellmore, Features Editor
Jim LaMotte takes a chemotherapy treatment Friday at Altru Clinic in Devils Lake. LaMotte is now seeking a bone marrow transplant.

They say that mental toughness and an upbeat attitude can go a long way in helping people fight and battle cancer.

If that’s true, 50-year-old Jim LaMotte of Devils Lake might have the odds on his side.

But he’s running out of options.

LaMotte says doctors tell him the chemotherapy treatments he has been taking for the past decade are having less and less effect on his cancer.

“I started the treatments in 2000, and I would relapse about every two years,” LaMotte recalls.

“The last two years now it has not gone away. We’re barely staying ahead of it.”

Doctors say they are encouraged in a way with LaMotte’s status, but they want to continue the chemotherapy as a precaution.

The next plan of attack, however, is a bone marrow transplant.

There’s no crystal ball, however. LaMotte says it is best right now for him to eat right, stay active and “keep his chin up.”

He’s doing that by remaining on the job at the North Dakota Department Of Transportation Office, he breaks and trains horses and otherwise appears to be healthy.

But he’s about at the end of effective chemotherapy treatments.

The bone marrow transplant is up next, something that will give him a 50-60 percent chance of survival.

He and his friends and doctors have been scanning the donor banks and computers, compiling as much information as they can.

LaMotte says he’s convinced it’s the right way to go because his options have grown quite limited.

A transplant would conceivably work better with a sibling donator, but his have apparently been determined to be incompatible.

So he’s seeking an unrelated donor.

“My family and friends and all the people at Altru Clinic have been so supportive,” adds LaMotte. “They’ve all been just so good. I’m confident this is the right thing to do.”

He insists he’s got plenty of fight left in him despite the drain of 10 years of fighting the deadly disease.

“I’ll take it as far as I can or will,” he added. “Johns Hopkins Hospital - you name it.”