March 19, 2009

Saturday, March 21st, 2009
11am - 4:30pm
669 Westchester Avenue
Rye Brook, NY

We are not wise, we humankind,
who live a little time and die.
What can we do against the night
but weep, and rage, and question why?
For what are we but bone and blood,
and speaking voice and loving heart?
We share what help and hope we may
Together now, before we part.
But if we do not speak, or love,
or offer blood, or bone, to save
another breathing human life
who'll live to love because we gave...
what are we then but cold, alone,
the chilling blood, the empty bone?

- Jo Walton

This spring at Lunacon, representatives of the New York Blood Center will be running an information table and bone marrow registry drive. Registration itself is simple and painless: all you have to do is swab your cheek and fill out a form. To register you must be between the ages of 18 and 60 and in general good health.

More than 35,000 patients per year, many of them children, are diagnosed with diseases treatable by marrow or stem cell transplant. These diseases include leukemia, lymphoma and other cancers and genetic diseases.

Many people do not consider donating because they may not know they can help, but also because they have misconceptions about the donation process. The drive is a great venue for getting your questions answered.

When someone needs a bone marrow transplant and none of their family members are a match, the registry searches for a donor whose tissue type profile is compatible. 70% of people requiring a transplant need an unrelated donor.

A person looking for a stem cell match may find one potential donor in a pool of 20,000, or 1,000,000, or more. The most likely match for someone is a person of the same or a similar ethnic background. No one is guaranteed a match, regardless of background, but ethnic minorities are especially underrepresented and patients have even less chance of
finding a matching donor.

Then they have to hope that person is on the registry. You might be the match necessary to save a life.

Funds were donated to support this drive in memory of Barbara J. Wolfrum.

Thanks to the generosity of the Wolfrum family, 40 people will be able to register at no expense to themselves. Emru and I first became acquainted with Bill's own experience with bone marrow drives, and dealing with his mother's leukemia diagnosis on Shakesville. I have not met Bill yet, but he is my true friend. Here are some posts he made.

My Mom: A strong, brave woman fighting leukemia - can you help?

My Mom whipped me at Scrabble, like she'll whip Leukemia

The Healing of Emru


Bill's mom passed away on December 31. I was so caught up in my own grief, I somehow missed it. I felt terrible. I don't think very much about what comes next but I can't help picturing Emru and Barbara playing some great rounds of Scrabble together.

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