Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bone Marrow Drive for Marist Sophomore

I received the following via Holy Redeemer's email network this morning:
Dear Holy Redeemer Families,

On Friday September 30th friends of Isaac Del Valle—former Holy Redeemer student and now a Marist sophomore-- have organized a ‘Bone Marrow Test Drive’ to be held at Marist School, 12pm to 8pm, in the Centennial Center.

The Kashi Lab has agreed to lower its cost per test to $115 per person. Some sponsorship is available and more is hoped for! Note that this testing is still specific to Isaac, and is not for the National Bank of Bone Marrow Donors [sic] (National Marrow Donor Program)

The testing range is between 16 years and 60 years. Children (16 and 17) WILL REQUIRE a waiver from their parents.

Channel 11 has taken up Isaac’s need and it will have the first airing of his story tonight at 11.00pm on Channel 11. They will continue to air his story throughout next week and will give specific messaging on the testing that will be done and even the population they are hoping to attract so the best possible match might be found.

You will find helpful information about becoming a bone marrow donor at this website.

If you are willing to be tested and/or can contribute towards a sponsorship, please contact Ana Shields at

Thank you.
This subject is near and dear to my heart because I worked in Pediatric Oncology back in the day, as well as in the Blood/Marrow Transplant department (currently called Stem Cell Transplant).  In 1996, I registered with the National Marrow Donor Program as a potential donor and had my HLA types recorded for this kind of emergency.  I haven't received a call, so that means my tissue type has already been screened and is not a match.  There are MILLIONS of potential donors tissue screened and listed on the database.  They got one match - ONE out of 8 million - and it fell through.  He's still waiting.

This story is more common than not:  tissue types have to be very close matches and more people die waiting for a match to appear than actually get one.  People of mixed racial heritage are even more difficult to match because of the unique genetic scramble. 

If you would consider being a bone marrow donor, please use the links above for more information and have your tissue type tested ASAP or at the drive next Friday.  If you are unable to potentially donate marrow, please consider donating the cost of a test so someone else can. 

You can also register to potentially match other patients in need.  Contact the NMDP at the link above for more information.

Come on, Dunwoody - time is of the essence and a life is in the balance.

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