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Bone marrow drive to be held for Martinez cop

July 29, 2010 1:40:05 PM PDT
Martinez police and the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center are holding a bone marrow drive on today to support a sergeant battling cancer, according to the police department.

Sgt. Brian Carter, a 36-year-old father of two and ten-year veteran of the department, was diagnosed last year with an aggressive form of cancer involving the cells of the immune system called Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.

Carter's cancer went into remission after he underwent chemotherapy and radiation, but returned recently. He will undergo a stem cell transplant at Stanford Hospital, but if that fails, he will need to find a marrow donor, according to Martinez Police commander Gary Peterson.

"Sgt. carter would like to be at the event, but he's currently undergoing treatment and will not be on site," Martinez police commander Gary Peterson. But, he added, "This marrow drive is not just for Sgt. Carter."

Peterson said that the drive is also for the thousands of other patients in need of marrow donations.

At the drive, anyone ages 18 to 60 who meets health guidelines will be added to the marrow registry, according to spokeswoman for the National Marrow Donor "Be The Change" Program, Kirsten Lesak-Greenberg. Those registrants will then have a small swab of cheek cells taken to determine their "tissue type."

Although the most likely donor match for the patient will be a sibling, about 70 percent of patients won't find a tissue type match in their family, Lesak-Greenberg said.

Anyone interested in registering to be a donor can also do so online at www.marrow.org, she said.

Most of the time, a marrow donation does not involve a surgical procedure, but about 25 percent of the time a donor will undergo a surgical procedure in which liquid marrow is taken from the hip, Lesak-Greenberg said.

General anesthesia is always used for this procedure, and Lesak-Greenberg said that donors who undergo this procedure often say that you "feel like you fell on your butt on the ice" for a few days, but nothing too serious.

Only five percent or less of a donor's marrow is needed to save a life, and after the donation the body replaces this donated marrow within four to six weeks, according to the National Marrow Donor Program.

The Contra Costa Regional Medical Center is also organizing today's drive event in conjunction with the Martinez Police Department. It will take place from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today at the Martinez City Council Chambers at 525 Henrietta St.

The police department is also planning a fundraiser for Carter that will take place on August 14 at the Martinez Yacht Club.


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