Joanne Morrison believes there is a bone marrow donor out there who can save her brother Bruce's life. She's determined to do everything in her power to get one step closer to finding that life-saving donor and she's asking the community for help.
Morrison's oldest brother Bruce, 52, of Lumberton, NJ, is battling Mantle Cell Lymphoma and a bone marrow transplant will save his life. He was first diagnosed three years ago and has been in remission until just a few months ago when the cancer came back.
She and their other brother were tested. He was only a 50 percent match and she was devastated to learn she was not a match at all.
Bruce is on the Be The Match registry in search of a donor but Joanne believes more must be done to help find a donor.
She immediately set out to organize a blood and bone marrow drive in hopes of finding a match. If one can't be found for her brother perhaps a match can be found for someone else in need of a life-saving transplant, she says.
The drive will be held Saturday, Jan. 19 from 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at Hasbrouck Heights Borough Hall. She's hoping to get as many people as possible to sign up for the registry to see if they are a match.
To sign up one must be between ages 18 to 44, weigh more than 110 pounds and be in generally good health.
Registration at the marrow drive is free, painless and easy - a simple swab is taken of the inner cheek.
"Time is of the essence here. Life expectancy is only three to five years. He's much too young," says Joanne.
Bruce is a PSE&G worker and longtime dedicated EMT in his town of Lumbertown. He's a husband, father and so much more, says Joanne.
"Someone up there is sending me the energy to do all this," she says about organizing the drive. She has a strong feeling that they can find a match.
Anyone interested in more information about registering or in learning more about bone marrow stem cell donations can call Kathy Young at The HLA Registry, 201-705-1615, or visit www.communitybloodservices.com.
If one is determined as a match for someone, he or she will be contacted by Be a Match registry about possibly donating bone marrow. Donating can be done two ways - PBSC which is a non-surgical procedure that takes place at a blood center or outpatient hospital unit, or marrow donation which is a surgical outpatient procedure. Recovery time ranges from one to seven days after donation.