First Posted: 5/3/2009
ARARATWhen Morgan Chilton set out to do a bone marrow/blood drive on Sunday as her senior class project, she was hoping to add a few more names to the bone marrow registry which she discovered was in need of more people.
Near the end of the more than four hour drive in the Pine Hill Friends Meeting fellowship hall yesterday, she had close to 90 people who had registered as bone marrow donors. She also had about 70 people donate blood to the American Red Cross.
Its gone really well today, Chilton, 16, said yesterday. It turned out better than I expected.
Weve had around 80 people register so far, she said. We had to turn people away from the blood drive because of the wait.
The East Surry High School junior said it took her about two months to organize the bone marrow/blood drive in honor of a family friend, Ann Honeycutt, who has been diagnosed with leukemia.
After her friends diagnosis, Chilton, the daughter Chad and April Chilton of the Ararat community, was drawn to learn more about leukemia, which is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow and is characterized by an abnormal multiplication of white blood cells.
She learned an option to help her friend would be a bone marrow transplant, but there was a need for more people to register.
The National Marrow Donor Program claims that thousands of patients with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases depend on the registry to find a genetic match to save their lives. According to the organization, even with a registry of millions, patients still cant always find matches.
The procedure to be added to the registry required only paperwork and a mouth swab. Normally it includes a $52 fee, but, thanks to a grant through the National Bone Marrow Registry and the Mark White Heroes for Life program, that charge was waived completely for the first 175 persons to join the registry on Sunday afternoon.
Chilton was hoping to add a few more names to the National Bone Marrow Register through the event, which she did, exceeding her own expectations.
It turned out better than I thought, said Chilton, who welcomed close to 200 people to bone marrow/blood drive on Sunday. I thought it would all be worth it.
Jeff Poindexter thought it was worth it, too.
He decided to register for the bone marrow registry because of a few friends he said hes lost to cancer.
I think this is a worthwhile cause, he said as he filled out his paperwork. I think its great to have young people get involved like this.
Jeana Cox attended in support of Honeycutt, whom she knows.
Ive gotten to know Ann, she said shortly after giving blood and joining the registry. I think this is the greatest thing ever.
Taylor Mills, who is a friend of Chiltons who volunteered at the event, said she was proud of her friends efforts and how the bone marrow/blood drive turn out.
I know how overwhelmed she was, she said. I really admire her for this, I think its awesome.
For more information about joining the bone marrow registry visit marrow.org.
Contact Erin C. Perkins at [email protected] or 719-1952.