Be the Match, Save a Life

When you were nine years old, your life was relatively care-free. Our biggest worry was whether we could convince our parents to let us go outside. Our biggest responsibility was making our bed. Unfortunately, some wonderful nine year olds had their innocent childhood plagued with much bigger responsibilities and worries.

At nine years old, Emilia Dameshek was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Since being diagnosed, Emilie has received 14 cycles of chemotherapy, and has had surgery to remove parts of the bone that were cancerous. After finishing chemo in March of 2014, she was considered to be cancer free. However, at a routine blood test just a few weeks ago and she received results were disheartening. She was diagnosed with t-MDS, a secondary cancer, a result of her original treatment, and is now causing her body to reject her own bone marrow. Emilia is in desperate need of a transplant. This is where we are asking for your help.

Emilia is the THON child of the Gymnastic club, and they are hosting a bone marrow drive on April 14 and 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the third floor of the HUB. Be the Match, the non-profit organization that maintains the national bone marrow registry, will be present at the drive to allay any fears and answer questions potential donors may have.

“If we could tell potential donors anything about the process, it would be that there are many misconceptions about donating blood marrow, first of which is the registration process itself. Registering to be a bone marrow donor is a very simple process – requiring no more than filling out a basic information packet and using a q-tip to swab your cheeks,” Kristen McKelvey says, coordinator for the event.

Her 10 year old brother, Max, has been tested and is not a match for her. So far, about 15 members of the club have already registered to be donors and many more are planning to join. Despite there being 22.5 million registered donors, there is no match for her in the public bone marrow registry.

“Although they remain very optimistic, it is crucial that a bone marrow match is found for her. Emilia, although upset about missing another summer of swimming with her friends, manages to keep a smile on her face and inspire everyone around her,” she says.

Emilia, her family and Valley are asking you to take a small part of your day and come out to support a good cause. You could be the match. You could save a life, maybe even Emilia’s life.


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