NEW YORK, Dec. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Delete Blood Cancer – the U.S. contingent of DKMS, the world's largest bone marrow center – announced today that it reached a record number of registered donors this past Saturday, December 14th, at a special New York City donor drive in honor of two FDNY families. Zane Staab from the Tunnels to Towers Foundation became the four-millionth person to swab the inside of his cheek to see if his bone marrow may be a match for someone in need of a life-saving transplant. This accomplishment symbolizes worldwide support for blood cancer patients around the globe, and underscores the urgent need to continue to expand the donor network so more patients can find their match.
Saturday's donor drive was held in partnership with the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, an organization that honors the firefighters and veterans who lost their lives or were injured on or as a result of September 11, 2001. The two organizations teamed up to host a donor drive in honor of two beloved members of the FDNY family in desperate need of bone marrow transplants: 20-year FDNY veteran Jimmy Martinez and Owen Hogan, the two-year old son of firefighter Tim Hogan. For Staab and the nearly 300 others who attended Saturday's drive, joining the donor registry was a simple choice.
"I'm proud to be the four-millionth member of the Delete Blood Cancer DKMS donor center and hope that I can be a match for Owen, Jimmy or someone else in need," said Staab. "I don't know Owen or Jimmy personally, but was glad to take the simple steps to register in the hopes that I can offer someone a chance to live a full, healthy life."
Like 70 percent of all patients in need of a bone marrow transplant, Jimmy and Owen have to look outside of their family and friends to find a genetic twin for their transplant. Since Owen and Jimmy's diagnoses, Delete Blood Cancer has helped their families organize donor drives throughout the country, but neither has been able to find a match. Every person swabbed and registered helps to increase the likelihood of finding a match for Owen and Jimmy, as well as the thousands of other patients currently in need.
"My family and I are so grateful for the hundreds of people that came out and got registered for my dad and Owen," said Jimmy Martinez, Jr. "It's my hope that this amazing show of support and concern will lead to a match for my father, Owen and other patients that need a transplant."
Owen and Jimmy will soon know if a lifesaving donor was found at Saturday's drive, but on behalf of blood cancer patients around the world, their families are urging people to continue to register.
"We're thrilled to so see that our worldwide donor registrations have grown by two million in less than two years," said Chris Kuthan, Chief Executive Officer of Delete Blood Cancer. "We're extremely proud of this accomplishment and are not slowing down – we're now focused on the five million mark!"
Visit Delete Blood Cancer's website, www.DeleteBloodCancer.org, to learn about local drives in your community or to sign up to receive a registration packet in the mail. If you cannot become a donor you can still help by providing a financial gift to Delete Blood Cancer to support its mission to eradicate blood cancer.
About Delete Blood Cancer | DKMS
Delete Blood Cancer DKMS started with one family's search for a bone marrow donor and is today part of the world's largest bone marrow donor center. We have helped register more than four million potential donors and facilitated over 40,000 life-saving transplants around the world. DKMS was founded in Germany in 1991 and with the goal to save even more lives our organization has spread to other countries, including the United States, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom. Every day we lead the fight against blood cancer by working with families, communities and organizations to recruit more donors and provide more patients with second chances at life.
For more information or to register as a bone marrow donor, please visit DeleteBloodCancer.org.
SOURCE Delete Blood Cancer DKMS