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Lincoln community can help patients in need during Saturday blood drive, bone marrow registry event

Midwest

February 12, 2014
 
LINCOLN, Neb. — The last 12 months have been rough for Hickman resident Mike Stewart. First, in March, the longtime farmer and truck driver was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a type of cancer where his bone marrow produces abnormal cells and doesn’t make enough healthy blood cells. A few months later, Stewart received another blow – he also had T-cell lymphoma, a type of cancer affecting lymph node cells.
 
“Mike’s flown through this with flying colors and has rarely been down,” said his sister, Becky Stewart of Lincoln. “He’s alive, and I’ve got to celebrate that.”
 
Becky Stewart also wanted to recognize the people who helped in Mike Stewart’s recovery – countless blood donors and an anonymous 22-year-old female stem cell donor. So, Becky Stewart hatched a plan to organize Savior Neighbor, an American Red Cross blood drive and Be The Match bone marrow registry event in honor of her brother. Fittingly, the event is being held on her brother’s birthday, Feb. 15. It is Becky Stewart’s hope that Savior Neighbor is a celebration of life that brings the community together to help others like her brother.
 
“It’s such a little thing to give blood or be a bone marrow donor, yet you can help save someone’s life,” said Becky Stewart. “It’s an easy way to give back and help others in need.”
 
Savior Neighbor:
Saturday, Feb. 15 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lincoln Racquet Club, 5300 Old Cheney Rd., Lincoln.
  • To make an appointment to give blood, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), click here or email Becky Stewart at becky@realestateinlincoln.com. While appointments are preferred, walk-ins are also welcome.
  • Appointments are not necessary to join the Be The Match bone marrow registry.
The Savior Neighbor blood drive comes at an important time for the Red Cross. From January 2 through February 10, more than 1,000 Red Cross blood drives in 34 states and Washington, D.C. have been canceled, resulting in about 35,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations. The extraordinary number of cancellations is the equivalent of the Red Cross having to shut down its national operations for more than two full days.
 
As a result, blood products are being distributed to hospitals as quickly as donations come in. While all blood types are needed to help restock Red Cross shelves, there is an urgent need for type O negative, O positive, B negative and A negative blood.
 
How to donate blood
A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in Nebraska), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
 
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
 
About Be The Match
For people with life-threatening blood cancers—like leukemia and lymphoma—or other diseases, a cure exists. Be The Match connects patients with their donor match for a potentially lifesaving marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant. People can contribute to the cure as a member of the Be The Match Registry, financial contributor or volunteer. Be The Match provides patients and their families one-on-one support, education, and guidance before, during and after transplant.

Be The Match is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), a nonprofit organization that matches patients with donors, educates health care professionals and conducts research so more lives can be saved. To learn more about the cure, visit BeTheMatch.org or call 1 (800) MARROW-2.

 
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