Phoenix bone marrow drive this week

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PHOENIX -- Every year thousands of people are diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening disease. For some, their only option for a chance to live a normal life is by getting a bone marrow transplant.

Blake Keller is a 4-year-old Phoenix boy whose family recently received some hard news.  They were told that Blake has Adrenoleukodystrophy, also known as ALD. It’s a genetically inherited disease that prevents the body from breaking down big fat molecules.  The fat molecules build up and clog up cells. This ends up hurting nerve cells. Eventually, the disease can leave a person immobile.  

The treatment option for Blake's disease is a bone marrow transplant. The goal of the transplant is to replace Blake's diseased bone marrow or blood cells with healthy ones. If the transplant works, Blake can lead a pretty normal life.  The main key in getting the transplant to work though is by finding a bone marrow match, or a pretty close one for Blake.  Blake is now on the Bone Marrow recipient waiting list.

Dorothea Douglas is the Bone Marrow Program coordinator at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. She said a majority of bone marrow transplant recipients receive bone marrow donations from donors who are not family members.

She said that’s why it’s so important to get people to register as bone marrow donors. The larger the pool of donors to choose from, the greater the chances are for finding bone marrow donor matches.

Because of this, the Phoenix Children’s Hospital and the Mayo Clinic are holding a Marrowthon: Donor Recruitment Campaign. It takes place on Monday, July 9. 

There are two places to register to become a bone marrow donor. For times and locations, go to Phoenix Children's Hospital link at: http://www.phoenixchildrens.com/newsroom/press-releases/marrowthon.html