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CJ Dingess

By SHELBY PORTER

For the Williamson Daily News

WILLIAMSON - Every three minutes a patient is diagnosed with a blood cancer or a disease such as leukemia, lymphoma or sickle cell anemia.

Williamson Memorial Hospital is partnering with Be The Match to host a donor drive in honor of Belfry, Ky., resident C.J. Dingess. He was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia in February 2019.

The event will be Wednesday, June 26. It will start at 1 p.m. and last until 4 p.m. in the Education Room on the fourth floor of the hospital.

Matching a donor to a patient is much more complex than matching blood types. Doctors match donors to patients based on their human leukocyte antigen (HLA) tissue type. HLAs are proteins, or markers, found on most cells in your body. There are many HLA markers that make each person's tissue type unique. Certain markers are key to a successful bone marrow or cord blood transplant.

If you are selected as the best match for a patient and go on to donate, all medical costs for the donation procedure are covered by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), which operates the Be The Match Registry, or by the patient's medical insurance.

Joining the registry can also be done electronically through an online link if an individual cannot make it to the donor drive. Cheek swab kits are mailed within 3-7 business days to the individual's home to complete and return in the postage paid envelope.

Although the process to join is simple, it is very important to make a firm commitment to stand ready if you are ever matched to a searching patient. Once entered into the database, an individual might be called to save the life of a child or adult somewhere in the world, suffering from cancer, leukemia, or one of 70 other blood diseases curable with a transplant. Those 18-44 are eligible to join Be The Match but donor information will remain active until your 61st birthday.

People can learn more by attending the June 26 event or by visiting https://join.bethematch.org/cj.

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