August 19, 2005

Minority Marrow-Thon aims to drive donations

Featured Image

Bette Moore, Ph.D., a researcher in the School of Nursing and lactation consultant at VUMC, helps new mother Wendy Vermeulen Clarke as she begins to breastfeed her newborn son, Aiden.
photo by John Russell

A Minority Marrow-Thon will be held Saturday, Aug. 27, to drive participation in the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), which helps people who need lifesaving marrow or blood cell transplants.

The Minority Marrow-Thon will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at:

• Born Again Church, 858 W. Trinity Lane

• Living Word Community Church, 409 Franklin Road

• Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 2261 Murfreesboro Pike

“Our daughter is alive today because somebody special took a few minutes to register to become a marrow donor,” said Jessica Pasley, who co-founded a foundation that helps organize the citywide drives. “The chances of becoming a match are only 1 in 20,000, but by joining the registry, you provide families like ours hope, and you leave knowing you could save a life.”

Pasley, who works in Vanderbilt University Medical Center's Office of News and Public Affairs, became involved in the quest to increase minority participation on the Registry after her twin daughters were diagnosed with leukemia in 1999 and subsequently needed bone marrow transplants to survive.

Pasley and her husband, Irvin, started the Jade Pasley Family Assistance Fund at Vanderbilt- Ingram Cancer Center in memory of their first daughter, who died following the transplant. The fund helps to raise money for the foundation that offers financial assistance to families whose lives are turned upside down by childhood cancer and to increase awareness about the need for minority donors on the NMDP Registry.