Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hello everyone, this is Wes Oxford the father of Nate. Words cannot describe the gratitude I have toward you all for taking the time to pray and give so selflessly for Nate. Nate still has a long road ahead of him, but your prayers are working and God is definitely listening. As you can imagine, we have met many other families who have children suffering from various forms of cancers along the way. Trust me, none of us want to experience any form of cancer in our lives, much less, watch it happen to our children.

We (Nate's family and friends) have an opportunity to make even more of an impact in the lives of children with cancer. Many children have blood cancers (Nate’s is tumor based and not blood) and among these children the only treatment out there is a Bone Marrow Transplant. This procedure is very easy on the donor (a matter of taking DNA out of your hip with a syringe while you are put to sleep for a short time) , but life saving for the recipient. The first step to making this happen is for a donor to get registered on the National Bone Marrow Donor’s List. Thus is done by having the inside of your mouth swabbed and filling out some paperwork. If you should ever become a match, then they call you in, run a few more tests and you have the procedure done. You get to track the child that you helped and can know that you have done something that may help save the life of a child.

This Friday, April 17th is the day I need you to make this happen. Children’s is going to have three locations in the metroplex waiting for you or you can go to www.bethematch.org and order your registration kit by mail using the promotion code childrens with no apostrophe. Normally the National Donor List has a $52 registration fee, but if you go on Friday or go to the website, then Children’s will pay the administration fee. You do not have to be from the Dallas area. This is something you can do from anywhere in the nation and you can help children nationwide. Please do this. If you are in the metroplex and can stop by that day, it would be better simply because they can go ahead and get you on the list for the children who are waiting on a match right now and we can start saving lives.

I know lots of people have said I wish I could do more, well, here is your chance. It is free, and you could be the match that could save some child’s life.

Below is a story about how this has made a difference in one little boy’s life and details about the event.

Register your bone marrow type April 17

Two-year-old Adam Danhoff's hope for a normal life might not have happened had it not been for someone who donated their healthy bone marrow. As you read Adam's story below, consider participating in the "Be The Match" bone marrow donor drive hosted by Children's Medical Center. This year, it is from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, April 17, at three locations, including Children's Legacy. Read more about the drive.

Adam, 2, contracted a severe type of pneumonia when he was little more than 5 months old. His pneumonia, not usually seen in infants, was cured but it eventually led to a diagnosis of Hyper IgM, a rare congenital immunodeficiency disease that causes infections, liver disease and, in some instances, the development of cancers. Because the defect lies in the cells of the immune system, the only curative therapy is bone marrow transplantation.

Adam's illness was diagnosed at Children's Medical Center by Dr. Maite de la Morena, an immunology specialist. It was also at Children's that he was lucky enough to receive a bone marrow transplant from someone who had registered their bone marrow tissue type with the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), a voluntary computerized registry of people willing to donate their bone marrow to an unrelated patient.

Because tissue type is inherited, patients are most likely to match someone with their own race and ethnicity, and there is a 25 percent chance that a sibling will match. Still, like Adam, most patients do not have a suitable family member to donate, so Children's turns to the NMDP to find a match from an unrelated donor.

The bone marrow transplant procedure rid Adam of his own unhealthy blood stem cells and replaced them with healthy blood-forming cells from the volunteer donor, essentially swapping Adam's dysfunctional immune system for one that functions properly.

Adam, who will turn 3 in July, will not have Hyper IgM once his new immune system fully develops, and he will have a second chance at a normal life — thanks to a stranger who took a few moments to register with the NMDP.
Bone marrow donor registry drive

Join Children’s Medical Center Friday, April 17, for the 18th annual “Be The Match” bone marrow registry drive from 9 a.m. to 7 pm.


The drive will take place on the first floor of the Dallas Ambulatory Care Pavilion (2350 Stemmons Freeway), on the first floor of the main hospital (1935 Medical District Drive) near the C1 elevators and at the Children’s Legacy campus in Plano (7601 Preston Road). Free and convenient flat-lot parking is available in front of the Dallas Pavilion and at the Legacy campus.

Or, during April, go to www.bethematch.org and order your registration kit by mail using the promotion code ‘childrens.’

The drive types donors for the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), which is open to healthy people between the ages of 18 and 60. The event recruits potential blood stem cell donors for thousands of children, including patients at Children’s, as well as for adults currently seeking a life-saving match.

Bone marrow donors from the African-American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic and American Indian communities are under-represented in the NMDP registry and are therefore critically important.

Volunteer donors can join the registry for free. Children’s is paying for each participant’s $52 registration costs.

The process is simple

The process to register is simple and painless. All it takes is a cotton swab of cells from inside the cheek to determine the donor’s tissue type. There are no blood draws. The sample will be entered into a computerized registry linked to the NMDP.

Nearly 3,000 people have been typed at the matchmaker drive, but on any given day, more than 6,000 people are seeking their bone marrow match through the registry, so new registrants are crucial.

For information about the Children’s “Be The Match” marrow drive, contact Cristy Ecton, outreach manager for the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Medical Center Dallas 214-456-2805 or 214-535-1602.

1 comment:

  1. We are listening. I am going to check into bone marrow donation, thank you for these stories. God bless you and Nate and the whole family. I pray that all the hosts of heaven have their arms around you.