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Monday
Feb092015

Essexville Family to Host Blood Drive and Be The Match Registry Drive

In August, RC Derocher of Essexville was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. After a successful stem cell transplant in November, his family wants to pay it forward and is inviting the community to help.

The Derocher family is partnering with Michigan Blood to host a blood and bone marrow registry drive from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20 at Garber High School, 213 Pine in Essexville. The drive will take place in the high school’s cafeteria.

Individuals between the ages of 18 and 44 can join the National Marrow Donor Program’s Be The Match Registry by filling out a health questionnaire and providing a cheek swab. There is no fee for those within the Registry’s age guidelines, however, financial contributions help cover the costs of adding potential donors to the Registry.

Michigan Blood’s Marrow Program, an affiliate of the Be The Match Registry, recruits potential donors for patients across the U.S. and around the world who need bone marrow or stem cell transplants. The Registry helped Derocher connect with a 26-year-old donor from Germany who donated stem cells for the transplant.

“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.

To schedule an appointment to donate blood, individuals can call 1-866-MIBLOOD or visit miblood.org. Any healthy person 17 or older (or 16 with parental consent) who weighs at least 110 pounds may be eligible to give blood every 56 days. 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.