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Hundreds learn about bone donor registry at tonight's fundraiser

Thursday, March 14, 2019

POLAND

Hundreds of community members signed up to fund life-saving transplants.

About 270 people pre-registered for an inaugural fundraising gala for bone marrow donor registry Be The Match Thursday evening at The Lake Club, coordinated by Mahoning County Engineer Pat Ginnetti.

“The two most scary words you’re going to hear are ‘cancer’ and ‘chemo,’ ” said Ginnetti of his late wife, Missy, who was diagnosed in 2010 with stage-three Hodgkin’s lymphoma. “My wife – she took it in stride. She cried, I’d say, 30 seconds and said, ‘All right. We gotta beat this.’ ”

That blood cancer is one of 70 types – including sickle cell anemia and several types of leukemia — that can be cured through bone marrow or stem-cell transplants. Be The Match maintains the “largest and most diverse” bone marrow donor registry in the world with more than 8.5 million registered donors, said spokeswoman Kristin Scott.

Of the more than 16,000 people who sought a tissue match last year, the nonprofit facilitated more than 6,000, she said. The organization, which formed in 1987, is quickly approaching its 100,000th bone marrow transfer, she said. But they still must turn away about 24 people a day, for lack of a match.

Read more about the group and Thursday's event in Friday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.