The second annual Villa Roma bone marrow drive is scheduled for this coming Friday and Saturday the 11th and 12th from 8 AM to 6 PM. Event organizer Faith Metzinger, who has spent the last 20 plus years working with children by providing childcare for local families has coordinated this event. She was once a donor to a little boy with leukemia, and that experience has inspired her to get others to donate. Last year she had close to 200 people show up and this year she is hoping to double that number.
"Our primary goal is of course to swab people, get them into the registry and then they'll be ready to donate if called. But a funny thing happened along the way…local businesses have said "How can I help?…"..and I asked them to give us gift certificates that we could give our guests. Here we are with several dozen restaurant vouchers, certificates for lawn services, bakeries, hair salons, live performances, pizzerias, fun park passes along with handmade items from local artisans. I'm thrilled to offer these to you all, just put your name in the bucket and we'll draw them all Saturday night at the end of our drive." says Faith on the Facebook page
It really is a good, potentially life-saving cause. Bone marrow donors are often the last hope for many people with blood cancers. According to Faith it literally takes 10 seconds to donate a cheek swab. Finding donors for these patients is fairly difficult, because your HLA markers must be very similar. On average about one in five hundred will go on to donate bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC) to a patient. And that is if you have a common tissue type. For some of these cancer patients, finding a match really is one in a million.
So whether you are a full time resident of Sullivan County, or just coming up for the weekend to enjoy the area, stop in at the Villa for a minute. You may end up winning a gift certificate somewhere, and you may even end up saving someone's life.
More facts on marrow donation can be found here