By MARYANN DREAS
FAIRFIELD — Charsie Haygood’s determination and bright, broad smile have carried her through the 17 years of her life.
They have also brought her through her toughest journey ever. In April 2006, the Fairfield teen was diagnosed with AML leukemia, which is usually found in adults.
On June 10, Haygood will be involved in a bone marrow registry drive at Crossroads Community Hospital.
It is the hospital’s first bone marrow registry drive, which will be held from 1 to 6 p.m. Dubbed the “Marrowthon,” it is part of the national Be the Match program. Debi Richardson, director of marketing and public relations at Crossroads, says anyone ages 18 and 60 is invited to come and complete a health questionnaire to determine if they are able to donate, then get a cheek swab. They will be registered as potential donors on the national marrow registry list until they are 60 years old. The fee normally has been covered by the program and is waived for the event.
Haygood seems and feels better, but she could relapse at any time, without warning. “You always have cancer once you get it,” Haygood explained. “My cancer cells just aren’t active right now. If I relapse, I need a bone marrow transplant immediately. But I don’t even have a match.”
According to the National Marrow Donor Program, Haygood is one of 10,000 people each year who get diseases that require a bone marrow transplant, and do not have a donor match in their family. They must find a marrow donor through the NMDP registry, a long and anxious process that only brings transplants to two out of every 10 patients needing them.
But Haygood is not letting the odds stop her. She has turned her focus to her community, working with kids with cancer and even achieving her Girl Scout Gold Award by “making people more aware of the need for bone marrow [donations].”
By MARYANN DREAS
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