Volunteers donate samples to help local man in need of a bone marrow transplant

LIBERTY TWP, Ohio - Friends, family and strangers spent part of their Sunday supporting a local father in desperate 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).

LifePoint Vineyard Church in Liberty Township hosted a Marrow Donor Registry Drive to take samples from donors between the ages of 18 and 44 hoping for a potential match.

"There are 10 million people in the registry and not one of those people matches Chris to date. So it is so important for us at this time when he is in such dire need to get a match so we are holding this at LifePoint Vineyard Church which is so important not only to my heart but to the heart of so many others," said Christy Lohner, Chris and Laurie Herrell's friend.
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," Lohner said. "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.

Great American Ball Park is hosting another drive on Friday, Feb. 22 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum.

Pattison Elementary School is hosting a drive on Saturday, Feb. 23 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. located at at 5330 South Milford Road in Milford.

You can also order a kit to do a swab and mail it back to the registry free of charge at www.bethematch.org.

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