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Blood and Be The Match® Marrow Registry Drive for Local Cancer Patient - July 7, 2015
Submitted by Kayse Carroll

The community of Logansport is hosting a Be The Match® Marrow Registry Drive and blood drive on Monday, July 13, from 4:00p.m. to 8:00p.m. to support cancer patients James Garrett and Deputy Gregg Shy. The drives will be held at the Riverside Park, 1212 Riverside Dr., Logansport, La.

Anyone who is between the ages of 18 and 44 years old, and in reasonably good health is encouraged to sign up for the marrow registry. The process takes approximately 10 minutes and includes a cheek swab and paperwork. Registrants are asked to provide health and contact information to be used exclusively in the event they may be a match to donate for a cancer patient.

In addition to the Marrow Registry Drive, LifeShare Blood Centers will be collecting blood donations to support patients in need of blood. Blood donors must be at least 16 years of age, with no maximum age limit, as long as the donor is healthy. The largest use of blood donations is for cancer treatment.

Be The Match is the national registry for stem cell and marrow donors. Be The Match works with patients battling blood and bone cancers and disorders, like leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell anemia. Many patients can be cured with a stem cell or marrow transplant, but they must have a matching donor that shares similar ancestry. Seventy percent of patients do not have a matching donor in their family, so they rely on Be The Match to help them find an unrelated donor to be their cure. All expenses are covered for stem cell and marrow donors, most of whom report resuming normal activity within a few days of donation.

For more information about the Marrow Registry or blood donation, go to www.lifeshare.org.

Blood and Marrow Registry Drives:
Monday, July 13
4:00p.m. – 8:00p.m.
Riverside Park
1212 Riverside Drive
Logansport, LA

Local Cancer Patients Searching for Cure

James Garrett

For the last few years, Logansport, La. resident James Garrett has been battling a slow-growing blood cancer called Polycythemia Vera, which causes the body to make too many red blood cells. About a year ago his condition worsened to a rare blood cancer called Myelofibrosis, which has the opposite effect, causing him to produce very little blood. Mrs. Garrett says that her husband’s body “isn’t making hardly any of the blood it needs and he relies on transfusions to keep him alive.” His regular treatment includes two to three units of blood a week. In total, he has received over 150 units of blood.

In January 2014, doctors told Garrett that he will need a stem cell transplant; and like Barrett Lovell, he has no match in his family. His doctors have been searching the Be The Match Registry for nearly a year but have been unable to find a matching donor.

Garrett recently had surgery due to complications and is currently in the hospital. He is retired, but enjoys working around the house, in his shop and doing carpentry. The Garrets’ are members First Baptist of Logansport and have two children and two grandchildren that he is looking forward to getting back home to!

A tearful Mrs. Garrett says that finding a donor for her husband, “Would mean the world; it would give him an extended life. We’ve been married for 46 years, and I’m not ready to give him up!”

Gregg Shy

Gregg Shy from Bossier City, LA had no idea that his day of shopping for a new boat would end with a trip to the hospital and a diagnosis of cancer.

“I was on the phone with my wife as I was leaving Bass Pro, and by the time I got from the store to my truck I was completely out of breath; that’s when my wife said I needed to go see a doctor,” says Gregg. “I really thought I had something going on with my heart, I never thought about cancer,” says Gregg.

Doctors at University Health admitted him that night, two days later they had a diagnosis, Acute Myeloid Cancer (AML). They also told him that a stem cell transplant is his only option for treatment. “Like anyone, I was upset and depressed but depression turned in to I can beat this,” says Gregg of hearing the news.

Gregg won’t have to fight this fight alone. His wife Deena has been with him every step of the way, spending every night in the hospital by his side. Gregg says, “She’s got it harder than I do. All I have to do is lay here, watch tv, play PlayStation, they bring me food. She has to get up and go to work, take care of the kids and the house. I just want to get back to being able to help her and get back to my kids.”

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