First-Time Meeting and Drive Raises Awareness of Life-Saving Bone Marrow Transplants
Dany Mercado was only 19 when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a quickly progressing disease in which too many immature white blood cells (called lymphoblasts) are found in the blood and bone marrow. When Mercado, of Kitchener, Ontario, and his family received that news in 2002, it was devastating. After several chemotherapy treatments, causing Mercado to go in and out of remission, his best chance of survival was to have a bone marrow transplant.
Because tissue types are inherited, patients are more likely to match the tissue type of someone who shares their racial or ethnic heritage. Mercado was told that his best opportunity for a genetic match would come from someone of Latino heritage from Nicaragua because of his parents' heritage. After an exhausting search and several bone marrow drives, no perfect match was found. However, doctors at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center in Detroit identified a potential match on the Be The Match Registry, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program. Thanks to the generous help of family, friends and community, in January 2008, Mercado and his family made the trip to Detroit for the successful bone marrow transplant.
Mercado, now 26 years old, will meet his bone marrow donor for the first time on Sept. 2. The donor, 30-year-old Wesley Hamilton, M.D., from Abilene, Texas, will come with his family to meet Mercado and his family at Karmanos. The meeting is being coordinated by the National Marrow Donor Program and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center, where the bone marrow transplant took place.
In conjunction with this special union, there will also be a donor registry drive at the Karmanos Cancer Center on Sept. 2 to encourage participation in the Be The Match Registry.
We invite media for this very special meeting. Interviews and photo opportunities welcomed.
WHAT: Celebration of Life: Bone Marrow Recipient Meets Life-Saving Donor, and Donor Registry Drive
WHEN: Wednesday, Sept. 2
10 - 10:30 a.m.: First-time Donor/Recipient Meeting - 2nd floor Auditorium
9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.: Donor Registry Drive, Wertz Classroom
WHERE: Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center
4100 John R, between E. Warren and Mack Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201
Media should enter through Karmanos Cancer Center's valet parking lobby and be escorted to the second floor auditorium for the press meeting.
WHO: Ann G. Schwartz, Ph.D., MPH, interim president and chief executive officer, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute; John Miller, M.D., medical director, National Marrow Donor Program; Wesley Hamilton, M.D., bone marrow donor from Abilene, Texas; Dany Mercado, bone marrow recipient from Kitchener, Ontario; and Joseph Uberti, M.D., Ph.D., co-director, Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Karmanos Cancer Center, and professor, Internal Medicine, Wayne State University School of Medicine.
Thousands of people are in need of a bone marrow or cord blood transplant for life-threatening diseases each year. Most people in need of a transplant, about 70 percent, do not have a matching donor within their family. They depend on the Be The Match Registry, which has grown to more than seven million potential donors and nearly 100,000 cord blood units. As a result, more than 4,300 transplants are facilitated a year.
The Karmanos Cancer Center's Bone Marrow Treatment Program began in 1980. Karmanos also operates the J.P. McCarthy Cord Stem Cell Bank and has one of the highest inventories of minority units banked within the Be The Match Registry. More than 260 bone marrow and cord blood transplants took place at Karmanos last year alone.
If more people register to donate bone marrow and umbilical cord blood, more lives could be saved.
About the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) and Be The Match
The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) operates the Be The Match Registry and partners with a global network of leading hospitals, blood centers, public cord blood banks and laboratories. As a leader in the field of bone marrow and cord blood transplantation, the NMDP facilitates transplants worldwide, conducts research to improve survival and quality of life, and provides education and support services to patients and health care professionals. Together with its fundraising partner, Be The Match Foundation, the NMDP is dedicated to creating an opportunity for all patients to receive the transplant therapy they need. Since operations began in 1987, the NMDP has provided more than 35,000 transplants to help give patients a second chance at life. For more information, visit BeTheMatch.org or call 1 (800) MARROW-2.
About the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center
Located in mid-town Detroit, MI, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center is one of 40 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Caring for nearly 6,000 new patients annually on a budget of $216 million, conducting more than 700 cancer-specific scientific investigation programs and clinical trials, Karmanos is among the nation's best cancer centers. Through the commitment of 1,000 staff, including nearly 300 faculty members, and supported by thousands of volunteer and financial donors, Karmanos strives to prevent, detect and eradicate all forms of cancer. For more information call 1-800-KARMANOS or go to www.karmanos.org.
CONTACT: Patricia A. Ellis of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, +1-313-576-8629, cell: +1-313-410-3417; or Catherine Claeys, National Marrow Donor Program, +1-612-455-1719, cell: +1-651-983-4312
/PRNewswire-USNewswire -- Aug. 25/
SOURCE Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute