DRAFFENVILLE -- In the face of loss of time, of health, of life, people in the Marshall County area will have the opportunity to help others fight back. For just a few minutes of their time next weekend, individuals ages 18-44 will be able to register, free of charge, with Be The Match Registry.

Local businesses are partnering to bring the bone marrow donor testing site to Marshall County. July 12 from 12-5 p.m. and July 13 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. a site will be set up at Christian Fellowship for potential donors to join the bone marrow donor program.

Be The Match Registry is an organization which connects patients with donors and is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program. The screening process is very easy; a simple cheek swab and a few questions give individuals a chance to safe a life.

These few moments have become very valuable to local residents.

Christian Fellowship 2019 graduate Kenzie Murdock was diagnosed with t-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma last fall and spent most of her senior year back and forth from St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Murdock has been in a battle for her childhood, her senior year, her volleyball career, her softball career, her homecoming, her prom, her graduation, her life.

This past month, her battle reached a new level as she was told that she would need a bone marrow transplant. Murdock is one of the 30% that has a familial match.

Seven of 10 patients in need of hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) do not have a human leukocyte antigen (HLA) fully matched family donor and need a transplant using an unrelated donor or cord blood unit (CBU) on an unrelated donor registry such as the Be The Match Registry.

A patient's chance of finding a compatible donor through the registry increases to 76-97% depending on ethnicity. Be The Match Registry is the world's largest registry with 13.5 million donors and also has access to 27 million donors worldwide.

Approximately one in 430 individuals on the registry will be contacted to donate. There are two methods of donation. The most common type of donation is the peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation. PBSC is a non-surgical procedure that is requested for 80% of the patients.

Local attorney Ryan Yates has been on the registry for almost 30 years and has been contacted twice as a possible donor. He became an official donor in 2006. Yates stated that the PBSC process was not invasive and required little to no down time for him other than the actual time required for the donation.

In 20% of the donations, the surgical method of bone marrow extraction is required. The process is done under anesthesia and is an outpatient procedure.

The recovery time for the marrow extraction is two to seven days versus the less invasive PBSC which is one to two days of general achiness following the day of the procedure.

Christian Fellowship chaplain Damian Praniuk also began his own battle last year with a diagnosis of multiple myeloma. Praniuk is the associate pastor at Christian Fellowship Ministries and is married to Shellie Praniuk who teaches at Christian Fellowship.

Praniuk has undergone an autologous transplant in which his healthy cells were harvested prior to any type of treatment and are then frozen. The cells are transplanted at the conclusion of his treatment program.

To join the registry, individuals between the ages of 18-44 are considered the most possible matches and therefore are free of charge to be tested and put on the registry. Over the age of 44, it is a one time fee of $100.

There are standard health questions which must be answered to qualify for the registry.

Be The Match Registry asks that the individual be ready to donate before entering the registry.

If you are interested in learning more about Be The Match Registry, information can be found at bethematch.org. For questions concerning the local donor drive in Marshall County, contact Rachel Yates at rachel@ryanyateslaw.com.

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