Huge turnout to support a local man in dire need of a bone marrow transplant.
Shannon Kettler, Shannon.Kettler@wcpo.com
1:20 PM, Feb 23, 2013
8:40 PM, Feb 23, 2013
MILFORD, Ohio - There was another strong showing of support Saturday for a local man who is in dire need of a bone marrow transplant.
Chris Herrell of Union Township, a husband and father of three young children, is battling a blood cancer called Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS).
Pattison Elementary School in Milford held a Marrow Donor Registry Drive to take samples from donors between the ages of 18 and 44 hoping for a potential match.
"Statistics have shown that the best likelihood for success comes from donors in that age group," said Laura McCammon, event organizer.
According to event organizers, 787 people came out to be added to the donor registry Saturday. On Friday, more than 750 people turned out at drive held at Great American Ball Park where Herrell has worked as a longtime sales manager.
"We've been asking people how they've heard of the drives and the vast majority don't know Chris or Laurie personally. They've heard about it on Facebook, Twitter, the news programs, through a friend of a friend and the outpouring of support has just been heartwarming," McCammon said.
The process to donate to the bone marrow registry takes a matter of minutes. After filling out some paperwork, volunteers give a sample.
"It takes 30 seconds to give a sample," said Christy Lohner, a family friend. "All they do is rub what looks like a Q-tip on the inside of their cheek and collect cheek cells. That's sent off to be the match. They test the DNA to see if you are a match to Chris or someone else and they contact you within six to eight weeks."
If the sample is a match, the procedure for the bone marrow donor is usually done within a day, according to Lohner.
"Over 75 percent of the time, they just collect blood, kind of like a plasma donation where they can get the DNA out of your blood cells and they don't have to do any kind of hospital stay. There's no surgery, which people typical think of. It's pain free. You might be afraid of the needle but to save a live a needle is worth it," Lohner said.
You can also order a kit to do a swab and mail it back to the registry free of charge at www.bethematch.org.