Molly Thunder, Snohomish County Sheriff’s deputy, has aplastic anemia and needs a bone marrow transplant. Thunder is currently on light duty and has to monitor the people she comes into contact with due to her reduced immune system. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Molly Thunder, Snohomish County Sheriff’s deputy, has aplastic anemia and needs a bone marrow transplant. Thunder is currently on light duty and has to monitor the people she comes into contact with due to her reduced immune system. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Deputy has disease she never heard of — now she needs help

A bone marrow transplant could save 27-year-old Molly Thunder of Snohomish County

MILL CREEK — When Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy Molly Thunder, 27, went to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance on Dec. 10, she had never heard of aplastic anemia.

The disease makes it hard for the body to produce platelets and red and white blood cells. It can cause fatigue, greater risk of infection and uncontrolled bleeding.

It’s also rare, and even rarer for people her age.

The doctor said Thunder had a severe form of the condition.

“It kind of feels like your life has been put on hold,” she told reporters Tuesday.

Her friends in law enforcement are rallying around her. The sheriff’s office is throwing a “Be The Match” registry event Thursday to find a donor. Initial treatment may not be enough — a bone marrow transplant might be the best option long-term.

The event isn’t just about her. Thunder said there are a lot of people who need bone marrow transplants, many of whom are facing more dire circumstances.

At the event, which takes place 3 to 7 p.m. at the sheriff’s south precinct in Mill Creek, participants will get a cheek swab and fill out a medical questionnaire.

Simple as that.

Thunder said she noticed symptoms in November. She was at rifle practice, and the gun felt so heavy in her hands that she could hardly keep it steady. She thought she was just tired.

A few days later, she was at home washing clothes. She couldn’t lift the laundry basket.

She went online to look up her ailment and figured she had an iron deficiency.

When Thunder called a health care provider, she was told to go to the emergency room. Doctors thought it was leukemia at first. It wasn’t until she was transferred to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance that she was diagnosed.

What followed was a series of six blood transfusions, to get her body back up to normal levels. She goes back for twice-weekly checkups to see if she needs more.

Thunder said she feels better. She doesn’t struggle doing laundry anymore. But there may be a time when the transfusions stop working.

She’s also taking prescription drugs that suppress her immune system, allowing blood cells to regenerate. Doctors are hoping the medication will essentially reboot her system, but they won’t know for another couple of months. Even if the plan works, the disease could come back. The more sure fix is the bone marrow transplant.

In the meantime, Thunder has been assigned to light duty. She appreciates the ability to keep her job, but she’s getting restless. She can’t wait to go back on patrol.

“I’m not that much of a couch potato,” she said.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; zbryan@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @zachariahtb.

Be the match

The “Be The Match” registry will take place between 3 and 7 p.m. Thursday at the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office south precinct, 15928 Mill Creek Blvd., Mill Creek.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in northwest

Stock photo
COVID-19 activity intensifying across Washington state

Higher rates in Western and Eastern Washington

Stock photo
800,000 ballots returned so far to King County Elections

55% of 1.4 million registered voters; turnout expected to hit 90%

Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
Alvin Sweet is a resident of Martin Court in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. Martin Court is a former motel which was transformed into a supportive housing complex two decades ago. New funding from King County’s Health through Housing ordinance could expand this type of program across the county.
King County wants to buy motels for emergency, affordable housing

The concept has proven results in addressing homelessness.

Stock photo
U.S. Senate committee report calls unfair practices by tech companies a threat to local news

Report shows total newspaper revenue will have dropped by nearly 70% by end of 2020

King County 2020 unemployment numbers. Source: Washington State Employment Security Department
Boeing, coronavirus likely to impact King County economy

Unemployment remained high in September.

Stock photo
Eleven indicted in illegal marijuana trafficking investigation

Allegedly shipped illegal marijuana across the U.S.; locations in six South County cities searched

t
U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran appoints election officer for the Western District of Washington

Assistant U.S. attorney will oversee complaints of election fraud

Most Read