Early this year a Soldier from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases was diagnosed with leukemia after routine lab tests were found abnormal. This came as a shock to the Soldier since he'd experienced no symptoms of illness. On the day he was diagnosed, he was immediately admitted to the hospital to undergo several chemotherapy treatments.
As chemotherapy was deemed unsuccessful in treating his condition, the USAMRIID Soldier was told he would need a bone marrow transplant.
An estimated 30,000 children and adults in the U.S., more than 500 of them in the Department of Defense, are diagnosed each year with leukemia, aplastic anemia or other fatal blood diseases. For many of these people, a bone marrow transplant is their only hope.
Since 75% of the patients in need of a marrow transplant cannot find a match within their own family, a strong national database is essential for identifying potential donors. The larger and more diverse the National Marrow Donor Registry becomes, the greater the chance of finding life-saving matches.
Within a few months, the USAMRIID Soldier received a match and underwent surgery.
"He's in good spirits. He's keeping everyone updated about his recovery through Facebook. Everyone has been very supportive of him, and he is ready to come back to work," Staff Sgt. Phineas Jackson said. "He re-enlisted while he was still in the hospital. A clear testament of his support and dedication to our country and the American people."
In an effort to help build the bone marrow transplant donor list, Jackson researched and organized a Marrow Donor drive open to the Fort Detrick community.
According to Jackson, Eddy Medina, senior recruiter for the Department of Defense Marrow Donor program, has been a huge support in organizing the event.
"He's provided briefings to Fort Detrick units on the DoD Marrow Donor program and what it does for Uniformed Service Members and their families," Jackson said. "He's also been very helpful in coordinating this event by supplying us with posters and materials needed to assist with promoting community awareness for this vital program."
Soldiers from USAMRIID have been working diligently to organize the bone marrow drive and show support for one of their own, according to Jackson.
The Bone Marrow Drive will take place June 29th at the Community Support Center, BLDG 1520 (Classroom # 5). Anyone interested in participating in this drive is encouraged to contact Jackson at (301) 619-4922. Donors must be between the ages of 18-60 and in good general health.
For more information about the DoD Bone Marrow Program visit http://www.do dmarrow.org/index.htm.