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Maha Khalaf, a Bingham McCutchen associate who was suffering from a rare form of lymphatic cancer, died Tuesday as a result of complications from a blood transplant. The 29-year-old’s two-year battle with the disease galvanized the Bay Area legal community, which rallied around Khalaf at numerous bone-marrow matching drives. At an April fund-raising event to help Khalaf’s family pay for the marrow drives, some 400 friends, family and attorneys from various law firms showed up to give their support. “It’s been real hard here. The office has been pretty down,” said Christina Wheeler, a Bingham associate who was one of Khalaf’s close friends. Friends remembered Khalaf as having an incredible spirit, a distinct smile and a great sense of fun, even during her struggle with cancer. “She just had so much energy and was so vivacious that everybody was kind of drawn to her,” said longtime friend Erin Haubner. “Pretty much everywhere she went she acquired a group of friends from that area and kind of kept them as life went on.” A Bay Area native, Khalaf joined what was then McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen in 1999 after graduating from Boalt Hall School of Law. Just as her career as a corporate attorney was beginning, however, she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a rare and aggressive form of blood cancer. After repeated rounds of debilitating chemotherapy that forced Khalaf to go on disability leave, Khalaf decided to have a bone marrow transplant. But finding a match proved incredibly difficult as a result of Khalaf’s genetic background. Despite holding dozens of marrow-matching drives throughout the nation, Khalaf was never able to find the perfect match. With signs that the cancer was starting to spread aggressively and that Khalaf might not have the strength to wait until a marrow match was found, she opted to undergo a riskier umbilical cord blood transplant. While the procedure was successful, Khalaf developed complications a few days later as a result of her weakened immune system. Throughout her struggle, Khalaf maintained an optimistic outlook and took heart in the fact that all the work registering bone marrow donors would benefit other patients. “She always said, ‘Well, if I don’t find one, all our efforts will find a match for someone else in need,’” said Haubner. “That’s a kind of neat legacy that she leaves behind.” Khalaf is survived by her mother, Rola, her father, Hanna, and her sister, Nancy. Services for Khalaf will be at 11 a.m. today at St. Thomas More Church, 1300 Junipero Serra, San Francisco. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Khalaf’s name to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

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