Blood Drive Donors Become Bone Marrow Donors

By Sarah Thomsen – bio | email – WBAY – click HERE for video of story.

Hundreds of people rolled up their sleeves and donated blood at the Packers training camp blood drive Wednesday. Many of them also became bone marrow donors at the same time.

Mary Homel and Phil Enderby don’t know each other but Wednesday they had one thing in common: They both signed up to save a life.

“It just seemed like something that was easy to do and could possibly go a long way for someone else,” Enderby said.

With just the swab of a cheek, both officially became bone marrow donors.

“Because I have family member that have cancer and I have a couple relatives that  died of cancer,” Homel said, “so I figure it’s for a good cause, and if anybody else  needs it, I’m there.”

It was the first time in our area the American Red Cross held a bone marrow registration drive in conjunction with a blood drive.

It’s teaming up with the non-profit DKMS Americas to add donors to the National Bone Marrow Registry.

“We’ve had volunteers trained to talk to people about who you benefit, leukemia patients and people with other blood diseases. So it just  seems like a fitting pair to do both today,” Bobbi Snethen, Red Cross communications program manager, said.

A big push to become a donor started when Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts announced she needed a bone marrow transplant.

Action 2 News has also profiled two children in our area, Mira Erdmann and Charlie Knuth, who each needed life-saving bone marrow transplants.

The idea for this drive started with a passionate family.

“We actually encountered a mother who is a huge advocate, and her son had passed away from leukemia and she was talking about the need to get people on the registry,” Snethen said.

Since it’s the first time, the Red Cross doesn’t know what to expect but says it was pleased with the steady line of people becoming donors.

“I think it’s important to give back, and it’s something I feel like a lot of people could do, and now I’m one of those people,” Enderby said.

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