Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Events Seek Bone Marrow Donors

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Events Seek Bone Marrow Donors

Article excerpt

Before Patty Barnhart would stay overnight at the Lakin Correctional Center, as a volunteer with Kairos Prison Ministry International, her friends would help her make 60 dozen cookies for the inmates. Now, as Barnhart battles leukemia, her friends are pitching in to help her again.

Karen Price, a close friend of Barnhart and former president of the West Virginia Manufacturers Association, has led the charge to have two bone marrow donor registration drives in Charleston on Thursday.

"She's extremely selfless, and would do anything for you, said Price, who hired Barnhart 22 years ago.

The chances that Barnhart will find a tissue match out of the people who sign up in Charleston aren't high, but the more people that are willing to donate, the higher the chance is that a life somewhere in America could be saved.

"It's not just for Patty, Price said. "When they sign up on the registry and swab their cheeks on the inside, then they're on the registry and they may find a match in California.

Every year, 12,000 patients in America are diagnosed with the blood cancers leukemia and lymphoma, according to Be The Match, a national organization that runs a bone marrow transplant registry.

Be The Match will be running the two registries, which requires a mouth swab for anyone willing to be a donor, since a bone marrow transplant requires matching tissues, not matching blood types.

"We are looking for a distinct tissue type, said Betsie Letterlie, a community engagement representative for Be The Match. "Every person has their own individual tissue type which they inherit from their parents, so it's like finding a DNA twin. They won't look alike physically, but their bone marrow will.

Because there are so many different tissue types, finding a match is extremely difficult. Plus, a patient has to be in remission from their cancer, which is something that Barnhart is waiting to learn from her doctors. …

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