The most frequent question Gary and I are getting from friends and family through this whole journey is "What can I do to help?" You all are great and supportive and it's a perplexing questions to answer. But I did some research today and hopefully some of you out there can and will take action!
Here's the scoop on the Bone Marrow Registry: As you may know Gary returned 4 possible matches from a database that contains over 4.5 millions registrants (If you do the math, Gary's one-in-a-million, but I digress...) We've been told that those of us that are Caucasian European decendants will need to pay to have their blood added to the registry at a rate of $65 a pop. The registry feels it has a great representation of the genetic makeup of the "White" community, and they are spending most of their funding on registering more of the minority population. SO if you are African-American, Asian-Pacific, or Hispanic or know someone who is, we encourage you to register so that maybe you can help out someone like Gary somewhere in the world.
Blood/Platelet Donation: I think our collective resources would be better spent in this area. Gary has received over 8 units of blood and 5+ infusions of platelets during his treatment and I'm sure we're not finished. It would be helpful for folks to donate blood (I know friends at RDA already held a blood drive) and for those who wish to be superheroes, Platelet donation is the assignment for you. Platelet donation is a process which blood is drawn from one arm, circulated through some machinery to spin out the platelets and then the remainder of the blood in put right back into you via a vein in the opposite arm. The process takes about 1.5 to 2 hours. Very few people are platelet donors probably because of the time committment but these platelets have already saved Gary's life and many others that need them. I practice what I preach, so I have an appointment on Saturday to donate. I'll let you know how it goes.
Bone Marrow Registry: Susan Crabbin at Johns Hopkins (410) 955-8951
American Red Cross -- White Marsh location -- (410) 933-0689 or call the Red Cross for a location if you are not in the Baltimore area.
Feel free to email us if you have any questions. Thanks!
Dear Gary and Marcy,
After hearing your message today, I had a chance to view your journal. All I can say is you two missed your calling for writing! What whit and humor. I felt like I was reading a book. I hope you do publish these writings, as you are an inspiration to other cancer patients as well as all of your readers! I am so sorry to hear about your illness! I am still in shock and disbelief. I am also feeling incredibly sad that I have been so out of touch. You two are amazingly strong and supportive of one another! I will be thinking of your family during this difficult time. I would love to see you and meet your beautiful daughter. I just looked through her pictures. I love the hat! Patrick definitely has your eyes, Gary. I'm glad to hear the kids are doing well. It is too late to call tonight so I will try tommorrow. Marcy, I wish you and Gary were not experiencing such pain! Doug and I love you guys. Hang in there!!!!!