John Needs Your Bone Marrow!
John Franc has leukemia, a cancer of the blood. Three years ago he underwent chemo-therapy and the disease went into remission. A few months ago it flared up again, and John has gone through another round of chemo-therapy. This time his doctors say the disease cannot be stopped by any procedure short of a bone marrow transplant. Without that transplant John may soon die.
John Franc started out as a graphic artist because he loves art, returned to school and became a teacher because he likes kids, and then became an engineer for the intellectual challenge. He is a skilled carpenter and screen printer, a master storyteller, and a wonderful friend. He has a great sense of humor and loves to travel. More than anyone else we know, John enjoys life and shares that joy with others.
To receive a transplant, John needs a "matched donor", that is a person with the same tissue type. Tissue type is a little like blood type, only a lot more complex, and much harder to match. Johnís known relatives have been typed and we have searched the available tissue donor databases, but no matches have been found.
Tissue type is inherited - half from your mother and half from your father - and varies with ethnicity - some types are found only in specific ethnic groups. Here is where Johnís hope lies and where you can help. Johnís paternal grandparents were Polish and his maternal grandparents were Ukrainian, all from the area around the city of Sanok in southeast Poland, very near the Ukrainian and Czech borders. As you can imagine, there are almost no recorded tissue donors in this area. But many Poles and Ukrainians have emigrated to the United States, just as Johnís grandparents did. These are the people who can save John! Someone with Polish and/or Ukrainian ancestry now living here in America can save Johnís life. We need to find that person!
How you can help. First, you and your friends and family who are from Poland or the Ukraine, or have parents or grandparents from that area, can register with your local marrow donor program. It takes only a few minutes and a simple blood test will determine if you are Johnís match. If you have sisters or brothers, encourage them to register - only rarely will they have the same type as you. And thereís a bonus - if you are not a match for John, you will be expanding the pool of potential donors for the many people who die each year because they cannot find a match.
Second, tell others about our search and encourage them to register. Spread the word at churches, schools, community centers and other places where people with Polish or Ukrainian ancestry congregate. There are lots of things that are special about being Polish or Ukrainian - now there is something else: you may be the person who can save Johnís life, or the life of another who shares your ancestry. Please help!
The Seven Steps to Donating Bone Marrow
At a donor center or registration drive, you learn about what it means to be a marrow donor. You give 2-3 tablespoons of blood and consent to be listed in the main donor registry. (No marrow is given at the time you register.) Total time required is often no more than 15 minutes.
Your tissue type is determined and entered onto the donor registry.
A lab analyzes your blood to determine its tissue type (an altogether different thing than your blood type). The results are added to the registryís main computer, which is searched daily by Johnís doctors and doctors of other patients who need a marrow transplant.
If a preliminary match is found, you are contacted.
If the computerized registry indicates that your tissue type is close to Johnís or any of the patients in need, your donor center contacts you and arranges additional testing.
A "perfect match" is identified.
To find out whether you are a "perfect match," additional tests are done. If you do match, you will be given counseling and a physical exam.
You decide whether to donate.
After being fully informed about what it means to donate bone marrow, you make the decision to donate.
A small amount of your marrow is collected.
At a hospital near you, a small amount of your marrow is collected from the back of your pelvic bone with a special needle and syringe. Anesthesia is used during this simple surgical procedure.
You recover quickly from the procedure.
Typically, the donor stays overnight in the hospital. Afterwards, you can resume normal activity, although you may feel some soreness in your hip for several days. Your marrow naturally replenishes itself within a few weeks.
In todayís complex world there are few things that a person can do that so directly and so dramatically affect the life of another as donating bone marrow. Remember, unlike blood, each personís bone marrow is different from most other peoplesí. In a manner of speaking, we are all members of small and exclusive clubs, and when one of our fellow members needs help, only we can provide it.
How You Can Help!
1. Get registered with your local organization!
Organizing A Drive
1. Get informed
Find out as much as you can about bone marrow transplants and local donor registration. Your local center can provide more information or contact the National Marrow Donor Program, 1-800-MARROW-2, website: www.marrow.org
Choose a location or organization where you can reach lots of people with Polish and/or Ukrainian ancestry. Use your personal contacts, even if they are somewhat remote. Be creative! Work with this group to determine the best site, date, and time.
Your local donor center or recruitment organization will help you organize the drive. They provide details to the organization hosting the drive and help train volunteers. They will make the technical arrangements and provide the medical staff for the day of the drive.
Confirm with everyone all the arrangements regarding the date, time, and place of the drive. Clarify with your local donor center what you are responsible for and what they are. Recruit volunteers to help both the day of the drive and to help promote the drive.
A successful drive requires publicity and education. Your donor center or recruitment organization can provide you with good general educational materials. Get the word out: flyers, posters, press coverage, presentations.
Donor Centers in States with heavy concentrations of Polish Americans
Daytona American Red Cross 904 226 1400
Gainesville Life South Community Blood Centers 352 334 1000
Jacksonville Jacksonville Marrow Donor Registry 904 366 7919
Lauderhill Community Blood Centers of S. Florida 800 357 GIVE, 954 735 9600
Miami American Red Cross 305 326 8888
Orlando Central Florida Blood Bank 407 849 6100 ext. 8552
St. Petersburg Florida Blood Services 800 68 BLOOD
Tallahassee Southeastern Community Blood Center 850 877 7181
Beaver American Red Cross Blood Services 724 775 9704
Philadelphia American Red Cross 800 26 BLOOD
Pittsburgh Central Blood Bank 412 209 7131, 800 310 9551
Cincinnati Hoxworth Blood Center, U. of Cinn. 513 558 1616, 800 265 1515
Columbus American Red Cross 614 253 7981, 800 338 8086
Dayton Community Blood Center 937 461 3450, 800 388 4483
Parma American Red Cross 216 431 3094
Toledo American Red Cross 419 539 1009, 800 828 1975
Glenview Lifesource - serves Chicago 847 298 9660, 800 486 0680
Peoria American Red Cross 309 674 7171, 800 728 3543
Rockford Northern Illinois Blood Bank 815 965 8751
Urbana Community Blood Services of Illinois 217 367 2202, 800 217 GIVE
For a more complete listing of donor centers, please call the National Marrow Donor Program at 1-800-MARROW-2 or look at their website: www.marrow.org.
Many of the above listed areas also have branch offices.