October 8, 1999

Bone marrow drive seeks to fill crucial need for donors

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The Cancer Center’s Cathleen Donnelley (right) donned an apple costume at the Courtyard Cafe recently and handed out fruit to medical student Katherin Freeman and others to promote National 5-A-Day week, a program designed to boost awareness of the cancer-fighting benefits of good nutrition.

Bone marrow drive seeks to fill crucial need for donors

Jade and Jillian Pasley are looking for a match.

The twin girls, daughters of Jessica Pasley, information officer in News and Public Affairs, are not quite two years old. Both have leukemia and the search is on for possible bone marrow donors.

To help them in their search, a bone marrow donor drive will be held Sunday, Oct. 17 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church, 1203 Ninth Ave. N.

The need for donors is critical, not just for Jade and Jillian, but for thousands of other minority blood-disorder patients across the country.

Every year, thousands of American racial and ethnic minorities die from leukemia, aplastic anemia and other fatal blood diseases.

Many of these deaths could be prevented and the patients cured through a bone marrow transplant.

Bone marrow transplants require matching certain tissue traits of the donor and the patient. Because these traits are inherited, the most likely match for an African American patient is within their own racial group.

There is a 30 percent chance that a patient who needs a transplant will match a family member, but in most cases an unrelated donor must be found. The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) maintains a registry of volunteer unrelated donors who have agreed to donate marrow if ever matched with a patient in need of a transplant.

The drive is sponsored by Blood Assurance, Leukemia Society of America and Rotary Clubs International. There will be no charge for participating in the test, which consists of a simple blood draw.

To register for the drive, call 331-2980.