Marrow Donor Registry Drive a Huge Success!

Please read this wonderful story that will soon be featured in the TOSC Times:

Marrow Donor Registry Drive huge Success!

ERC sponsored event that signs 31 donors!

An event that honored a past survivor and remembered a fallen comrade became a beacon of hope for the future as 31 co-workers registered during the Be The Match Marrow Donor Registry Drive held Tuesday, July 21 in OSB I.

In addition to the new donors, $1,300 was raised at the ERC-hosted event, which was held to recognize Kevin Berry, who received a bone marrow transplant on Feb. 19, 2015, and in memory of Gary Lewis, who underwent a bone marrow transplant before eventually losing his fight to cancer in April 2015.

The KSC event, which was organized by Myhra Tubridy, was supported by a number of ERC representatives: Michele Armstrong, Charitable and Community Outreach Coordinator, Jane Reutt, ERC Teammate Principal, Marie Minicus, Administrator, Valerie Armour, Terry Berman, Amy Petitt and Mike Toner. John Berry, TOSC Facilities Support, was also instrumental in the success of the effort.

“The initial organizing of the event started at the ERC Corporate office with Michele Armstrong leading the efforts,” said Myhra. “The ERC Huntsville office kicked off the effort with a drive on July 9th and has plans to conduct drives at other ERC locations.

“At KSC, our passion is driven from the recent fact that two of our employees, Kevin Berry and Gary Lewis, benefited from receiving donor cells via Be The Match as part of their cancer treatment. The difficult, sensitive part of this story is that Gary didn’t survive. It creates a conflict with emotion – we’re happy for Kevin’s progress and respectful to the Lewis family for their loss.”

Kevin Berry, Manager of Ground Project Management is a nine-year mantle cell lymphoma survivor after undergoing a second bone marrow transplantation six months ago at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa.

A freelance writer and editor, Kevin has written eloquently about his situation and the importance of donors on his personal blog, Taking Vienna: “People who are victims of “blood cancers” – myeloma, leukemia, and lymphoma – sometimes are treated by receiving a bone marrow transplant. This is a very common procedure, with tens of thousands of people receiving transplants each year. Of course, getting a transplant means having a donor. That’s where you come in!

“Worldwide, there are over 20 million registered donors. Even with that huge population, after a two year search, an acceptable match was just found last August, from a newly signed up donor. Then, early in February, after I was already headed for the hospital, a new, nearly perfect match signed up. I was notified within a few hours of this better match.”

The best match is the goal of every donor registration drive and was the impetus behind ERC’s event at KSC.

“Greg Joseph, a member of our Business Development team at ERC headquarters, approached our Charitable Giving Coordinator about ERC supporting the efforts of Be The Match; Greg knew of the great work they do with finding matches for blood cancer patients,” said Michele Armstrong. “ERC is proud to support such an effort and especially proud of our wonderful employees that came out to make a donation and/or join the registry.”

For more on Kevin’s transplant journey, please visit his blog at http://www.takingvienna.blogspot.com/ or his formal journal for CURE magazine at http://www.curetoday.com/community/kevin-berry.

 

Be the Match

(Left to right): Michele Armstrong, ERC Charitable & Community Outreach Coordinator, Jane Reutt, ERC Teammate Principal, Myhra Tubridy, Event Coordinator, Mike Toner, Kevin Berry, Patricia Lewis (widow of Gary Lewis), Marie Minicus, ERC Administrator, and Marc Silver, Be the Match rep.

- Times Staff