Family of sick child encouraging bone marrow donations

By  | 

NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) -- While an event in New Bern, North Carolina called Mumfest is full of fun activities and events this weekend, there are also several non-profit groups and organizations that will be out this weekend trying to help people in the area.

This weekend, the Rotary Club will be working side by side with Be The Match Bone Marrow Registry and an area family to try to get more people to sign up on the bone marrow registry, which could save a life.

The Forte family lives in Craven County, N.C. and they are all too familiar with be the registry because their son, 7-year-old Thor, is in need of a bone marrow transplant.

Last year, Thor found a perfect match after being on the waiting list for several years, but the donor was unable or unwilling to donate at the last minute.

Thor has sickle cell anemia, a disease that can be cured with a bone marrow transplant.

This weekend at Mumfest, the Forte family are hoping to add to the registry and get more eligible donors in the hopes of finding a match for not just Thor, but also others in need.

"You never know when you will need someone to step up for you," says Tameka and Rodney Forte.

"We can save some lives with just this one weekend if as many people between the ages of 18 to 44 can come out and sign up for the registry, we know we can save some lives," explains Walt Kerner with the Rotary Club of New Bern.

To be eligible to donate or join the registry list, you must be between the age of 18 and 44 and be in general good health. The sign up process is simple: swab the inside of your mouth and answer a few questions.

Organizers say after that, you will be added to the national registry where you could help save a life.

At Mumfest, Thor's family, along with the Rotary Club, are hoping to add 500 people to the Be The Match Bone Marrow Registry, and they are challenging anyone who stops by the festival to think about joining.

If you are selected to be a donor for a patient, there are two ways they retrieve the donation. One is similar to giving blood and the other is a minor procedure that draws bone marrow from your hip.

Read the original version of this article at witn.com.