Sparrow nurses give special attention to MSU super-fan/patient at Herbert-Herman Cancer Center

Posted at 10:31 AM, Jul 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-22 12:43:27-04

LANSING, Mich. — You would understand if Barry Greer hated having his blood drawn every three months because of a condition he has called polycythemia.

But the nurses at the Sparrow Herbert-Herman Cancer Center Outpatient Infusion Center are so much fun and so caring, Barry doesn’t seem to mind it at all, said his mother, Debra Greer of Lansing.

They’re so kind and compassionate that the nurses formed a “Go MSU” message for him from the many syringes used during a recent procedure for Barry. He loved it, especially since Barry, who has Down syndrome, is a huge Spartan fan who’s become known for helping direct the MSU Marching Band at home basketball games.

“Because of how great the staff is there, joking all the time, he lets them poke around,” Debra Greer said.

Polycythemia refers to an increase in red blood cells in the body. The extra cells cause the blood to be thicker and increase the risk of issues such as blood clots. The blood draws help stabilize his blood.

Barry, 34, sometimes has to spend hours getting his blood drawn because his is so thick that it causes the blood flow to stop and another needle has to be inserted.

“They’re so sweet to him,” Debra Greer said. “As a mom of a child with Down syndrome you get to know people and get to know their character quickly. You get to know if they’re fake or true and I think Barry can, too.” For more information about the Cancer Center, go to

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