Save a life: Gym hosts bone marrow registry

Save a life: Gym hosts bone marrow registry

EUGENE, Ore. - Fill out the form, wipe the swab - and maybe save a life.

Courtsports, 4242 Commerce Street, is conducting a bone marrow registry drive Monday to try and help one of its members.

Ron Sexton, 68, is fighting a blood cancer known as Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), the same sort of pre-leukemia that afflicted Robin Roberts from "Good Morning America."

Sexton was first diagnosed with the syndrome 5 years ago but it didn't flare up until 2 months ago.
Since then he has undergone more than 20 treatments to slow the progress of the disease while a donor is found.

"When you first get diagnosed that's when it really--you think, this can't happen to me," says Sexton, remembering how the news hit him like a ton of bricks.  He's a prostate cancer survivor, which may be a factor in his latest illness.   Northwest director Magda Silva of the Be The Match Foundation explains, "They may develop MDS sometimes as a consequence of prior chemo/radiation that they've had. "

Sexton hopes to get a bone marrow transplant at Oregon Health and Sciences Univerisity later this year.

To help find a match, Courtsports is holding a bone marrow registry drive January 14 until 1 p.m. and again from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m.

Be the Match tries to match patients who need a transplant with people who are willing to donate their bone marrow. 

Donors must be healthy and between the ages of 18 and 44. All the test takes is a simple cheek swab to enter the registry. 

If a match is found you will be asked to donate cells through a non-surgical outpatient procedure or a surgical procedure.  Ron Sexton says with a 70-percent chance of full remission, if he finds the perfect marrow match, he likes those odds.  "There's a lot of people who they'll go to and they'll say sorry--we can't do anything for you.  But with me and my case, it'll be a hard road to travel but at least it's a road I can go down," says Sexton.

For more information check the website, where you can request a swab kit.

You can visit Sexton's page at