Registering bone marrow to help in the fight against cancer

10:45 PM, Aug 16, 2013   |    comments
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BREWER, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- Hundreds of Mainers will be in Brewer on Saturday to show their support in the fight against cancer. From groups walks to runs, many events at the annual 'Champion the Cure Challenge' will raise funds for cancer research in the Bangor area. Yet those who attend can also help save lives in other ways.

Little Makenna Ward is only six years old. She is one of the tens of thousands across the U.S. battling forms of cancer, which can only be managed with stem cell transplants. For many cancer patients that procedure is only an option if they receive a bone marrow transplant. Medical experts say the hard part through it all is finding an eligible donor as the odds of two people having compatible bone marrow are one in 20,000.

It's why on Saturday the Lafayette Cancer Center is going to be registering people's bone marrow for a regional database. The procedure is as simple as wiping behind your cheeks with a swab. Cancer caregivers say the odds of getting called in to donate your marrow is slim but the cause couldn't be greater.

"The data for nationally is about one person is diagnosed with a blood cancer about every four to five minutes...and somebody dies from it about every ten to fifteen minutes," said Brenda Clements, who is a nurse manager at 'Cancer Care of Maine.' "so that tells you how great the need is."

If you would like to stop by to help with efforts on Saturday at Champion the Cure, the cancer center will be registering marrow from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. The procedure is completely free.


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