Roger Searching For Perfect Marrow Match

BONEMARROW PIC3Cancer is a disease that can affect anyone at any stage in life. No one ever knows when it’s coming, and no one can ever prepare for it. Like Roger Thomas, who was diagnosed with leukemia in April of last year.

Thomas was told his best option for surviving the disease would be a bone marrow transplant. Unfortunately, none of his immediate family was a match. So his wife and family decided to hit the streets, and ask the community to get tested to be a match.

There are almost 14,000 people each year who are in Roger’s position, waiting on their perfect match.

“You fill out some paperwork, do a cheek swab, it’s a ten minute process,” says Rachel Harris, the Be the Match Community Engagement Representative. “And just by doing that you could possibly save somebody’s life!”

BONEMARROW PIC2Roger is also a part of the 70 percent of patients whose immediate family is not a match. Those patients must rely on strangers to not only get tested, but also come and donate their bone marrow to help cure their illnesses.

“Bone Marrow transplants treat, actually over 70 diseases,” says Harris. “Leukemia being the most common, other blood cancers, but there’s also some rare immune disorders and some other diseases that can be treated and can be cured through a bone marrow transplant. That patient just has to have that donor first.”

That’s what Roger’s wife, Sarah Thomas, has set out to do. While she knows she’s Roger’s perfect match in life, she wasn’t his perfect bone marrow match. So she’s made her mission to get as many people as she can to sign up for the registry list.

“So I went on the news, I went on the radio station, my cousin and I, we went all over Montgomery, trying to get people to come out to support it,” Sarah says. “Because, not only for my husband, for many more people waiting on a transplant.”

BONEMARROW PICSarah plans on helping the Be the Match Program even after Roger finds his match. She hopes everyone will come out and join the bone marrow registry, because she knows first-hand there is no warning when it comes to cancer.

“It just really touched me now, when this came in my home with my husband,” she says. “I was just like a lot more people, I wouldn’t go out and donate. But now, every time someone says ‘come out’, and I can help, I will.”

There are a few basic health requirements that must be met before registering. To join the list, you must also be between the ages of 18 and 44. For more information on donating or joining the list, you can click here.

This is not the final event to help Roger, his family and the Be the Match Program will be in Selma at the Gospel Tabernacle on June 26th from 1:30 to 3.

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