Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

May 7, 2010

Our View: A drive that can save lives

MT. VERNON — On Saturday, May 15, there will be a bone marrow typing drive at the Times Square Mall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The importance of this drive is a lesson learned from Hunter Kalahar, the 4 year-old boy diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia earlier this year. As doctors worked to help Hunter fight the disease, it became apparent the chemotherapy treatments were not pushing back the aggressive bone cancer, thus forcing Hunter and his family to seek a bone marrow match.

“Usually doctors will go to the family first and try to find a match in the family — brothers and sisters are the more likelihood,” explained Melissa Malcomb with Community Blood Services of Illinois. “But statistics show only 30 percent of patients find a match in the family. The other 70 percent have to find an unrelated donor.”

Those unrelated donors number some 7 million on the national registry, but unfortunately not everyone’s genetic markers are alike, making it more difficult for patients like Hunter to find a match.

And though Hunter has finally found a donor, consider the possibilities of helping out another human being — someone’s parent, grandparent or little boy or girl — by having similar genetic genes and making the commitment to save a life.

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