EARLY -- With Debbie Pinson’s background as a home health care nurse, you might think her medical background is a plus as she cares for her husband, Audie “Junior” Pinson, in his battle with leukemia.

That’s true only to an extent. “When it’s your own family, you honestly don’t think like the nurse that you are,” Debbie Pinson said by phone Thursday.

Junior Pinson, 60, previously worked as Early police chief and was diagnosed last year with leukemia.. The disease had previously been in remission, but leukemia cells were recently discovered in his bone marrow, Debbie Pinson said. She said the only cure is a bone marrow transplant, and a donor match has been found.

The donor is on an international list and is in another country, and schedules have to be coordinated. The donor will have to give up about a week of his or her life, but won’t have to come to the United States, Pinson said.

Once the timetable is established, Junior will go in to Baylor Medical Center a week ahead of time to receive high doses of chemotherapy which will kill off all of his blood cells, she said.

She isn’t sure how long Junior will need to be hospitalized, but they will have to be within a 50-mile radius of the hospital for two months.

The community has responded with fund-raisers and donations throughout Junior Pinson’s illness to assist the couple.

Donations can be made in Pinson’s name at any Mills County State Bank location to help with food, gas, utilities or any other incidental expenses, family friends Cliff and Teresa Waddell said.

Before receiving a blood transfusion recently, Junior had been pale, short of breath and lacking energy, Debbie Pinson said. The transfusion has given him a little bit of a boost, she said.

“Through this whole thing he’s had an amazing spirit about him,” Pinson said. “We’ve got God in our life and we have such peace since turning it over to God. His sense of humor is as big as it ever was if not bigger.

“This has not gotten him down.”

Pinson said she and her husband are “most definitely” grateful to the donor who has been a match for Junior. “Absolutely we are go grateful,” she said.

She hopes to some day be able to meet the donor.