Members of a Wicksburg club are sponsoring a four-day event to solicit participants to join the bone marrow registry in support of a second-grade student.
Hayden Farmer was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called Fanconi Anemia, a DNA-repair disease, in late July/early August. The disease could lead to bone marrow failure, leukemia, and solid tumor development.
As the condition worsens, Farmer will likely need a bone marrow transplant.
Only 30 percent of patients who need a bone marrow transplant have a matching donor in their families, according to data from the Institute for Justice. The remaining 70 percent must hope that a compatible stranger can be found using the national registry.
Wicksburg Family, Career and Community Leaders of America members and their sponsor, Danna Hollis, decided to host a “Be the Match” campaign to spread awareness and sign up donors for Farmer, whose mother Windy Farmer teaches math at Wicksburg, and for others.
“We just wanted to do something not only for Hayden, but for her mother as well,” Hollis said. “She is currently in school. It’s not known when exactly she will need to have the transplant.”
Hollis said Hayden is a symbol of pride for the area as the current Little Miss Andalusia and Wicksburg Mites Cheerleader.
Approximately 30 children are affected by the disease each year in the United States and, although the extent varies, it can be fatal.
“One in 430 people are a match. I would love to have 430 people so that we can possibly find a match,” Hollis said.
The event will span four days for persons to come to the school’s campus to register as a donor:
>>Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the FACS classroom
>> Thursday, Oct. 24 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the FACS classroom
>>Friday, Oct. 25 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the football field
>>Saturday, Oct. 26 from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the football field
Hollis said there will be signs directing visitors to the sites each day.
The process, which is free for people ages 18-44, starts with a simple cheek swab that will be sent to national marrow donor program to be analyzed and added to the online registry. Persons 45 and older can donate, but will have to pay $100 for lab fees.
Registrants will be notified in they are a match.
If a person is chosen, there is no expense to the donor for travel or food expenses. Hollis noted that 80 percent of people who donate can donate through a peripheral blood stem cell donation, which is a similar process to donating blood.