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Wednesday
Dec102014

Michigan Blood Hosting a Be The Match Registry Drive in Honor of Local Cancer Patients

Michigan Blood’s Marrow Program is hosting a Be The Match Registry drive in honor of two local patients battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

The drive, organized by Swan Valley High School senior Brock Notter, will run from 4-7 p.m. Friday, December 12 during Swan Valley High School’s boys basketball game against Carrollton High School. Individuals between the ages of 18 and 44 can join the registry by filling out a health questionnaire and providing a cheek swab.

Michigan Blood’s Marrow Program, an affiliate of the National Marrow Donor Program's Be The Match Registry, recruits potential donors to join the registry to help cancer patients like Saginaw’s Derrick Nash. Nash, a standout high school football player, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia during his senior year at Carrollton High School in 2013. Now facing his second battle with leukemia, the Central Michigan University freshman needs a bone marrow transplant and has turned to the Be The Match Registry to find a matching donor.

“Seventy percent of people who need a transplant will not have a match in their family and will turn to
Be The Match to find a lifesaving donor,” said Caitlin Regan, stem cell recruitment specialist for Michigan Blood. “Patients are most likely to find a match in someone of their same ethnic background. It’s extremely important for us to continue to increase the size and diversity of the registry to improve all patients’ chance for a cure.”

The drive will also honor Swan Valley High School graduate Alex Dils in his fight against cancer.  Dils was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic lymphoma in May, one month before graduation. Supporters of Nash and Dils will have an opportunity to purchase an Elite Rodz 2015 Calendar for $10, which features the stories of local patients impacted by blood cancer including Nash, Dils, Andrew Stevens, and Mary Juengel. Proceeds will benefit local patients battling blood cancer and Michigan Blood’s Marrow Program. The calendars, produced by Rod Bedell Publishing and Mid-State Sports, can also be purchased by calling Amy Tober at (989) 239-7871.

For additional information about joining the Be The Match Registry, individuals can contact Katie McClain at (616) 233-8516 or by email at kmcclain@miblood.org.