I've been meaning to write this post since the weekend.
But haven't found the time. I found time now. Because I should be studying for my test on Holocaust Lit tomorrow. (Yes, it is the barrel of laughs it sounds like it would be.)
I saw this article
in the Sun-Sentinel laaaate on Saturday night. It's about a local girl named Sofia Armstrong, five years old, who was diagnosed with leukemia late last year.
They were hosting a local bone marrow testing drive at her former school on Sunday here in Fort Lauderdale. The bone marrow testing isn't nearly as painful as it sounds like it would be; you simply fill out an application, then use this swabbing kit to swab the inside of your cheeks. That's it!
Finding a match is extremely difficult, but if they do, it could really help her. Chris said it depends on the kind of leukemia she has, but one of the types that is very common to children (I think there are two types common to children) is something like 80% curable with a bone marrow transplant. I had him dumb it down for me: They basically flush out all her (cancerous) white blood cells, then do the bone marrow transplant, and then the new white blood cells she makes are based on your new, good marrow. Sorry if I got any of that wrong, but that's how I understood it.
Not only would my swab be tested to see if it's a match for Sofia, but it will be put in the national registry in case my marrow could help someone else. Less than 1% of folks on the registry are ever contacted to donate, but the ones that are can incredibly increase a patient's chances.
A lot of people showed up to the drive, actually. So many that they ran out of swabbing kits at around 3:30 (when I was there) for a drive that was going until 5. I had my camera with so had something to bide my time until the swabs arrived. It was really nice to see so many people out there with their families to try to help this little girl most of them don't know.
The parents of these two (and two more!) were getting tested.
So anyway, keep an eye out for things like this. You can go to http://www.marrow.org
to see if there are any testing/drives in your area. I think you often have to pay $52 (tax-deductible donation) in order to have your tissue tested and into the registry. We didn't pay anything at this drive, but I can't say anything about the drives in your possible area.
For any South Floridians, they're having another drive later in February for Sofia.