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NJ Bone Marrow Drives Continue After Lauren Matta Finds Perfect Match

A perfect bone marrow match was found for Lauren Matta, a 17-year-old senior at Pinelands Regional High School but the need and the push for donors continues.

Lauren Matta (Facebook)

Lauren Matta has been battling bone cancer for more than a year and recently learned that her chemo therapy treatments weren’t working and that she was not in remission.

Community members rallied to support Lauren Matta, and a Feb. 11 bone marrow drive in Little Egg Harbor resulted in 900 new donors who entered themselves into the national bone marrow registry, which is where Matta’s match came from.

“That’s one of our best drives,” Christian Montgomery, donor recruitment coordinator with DKMS says. “Or at the very least, a very good drive.”

Montgomery explains that it’s very difficult to get a bone marrow donor due to the complexities of tissue matching.

“Only about one percent of the people who register are a match for somebody,” Montgomery says.  “And the only way to get more matches is to get more donors,” he says.

Six Ocean County Walgreens locations are holding bone marrow drives tomorrow from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. to help bone cancer patients like Lauren Matta.

It’s really important to hold these drives,” Montgomery says. “It’s wonderful that Lauren’s story inspired so many people.”

One such inspired person was Steve Trevelise, a NJ101.5 radio personality who discussed Lauren’s search for donors on air last Wednesday around 9 p.m.

“My best friend died in my arms because he couldn’t get a bone marrow transplant,” Trevelise says.

The radio show host came across Lauren Matta’s story while prepping for his show and took it on air. He was happy to learn that Lauren had found a match.

“It was hard to do on the radio,” Trevelise says, referring to the emotions associated with his own experiences involving his close friend.

“They don’t understand how easy it is to just get swabbed,” he says.

Trevelise is on the national donor registry.

What can bone marrow donors expect at Walgreens?

 

“The whole process takes anywhere from five to ten minutes,” according to a Walgreens Community Leader who adds that the procedure includes a quick health assessment, a cheek swab and some light paperwork. Donors have to be between 18 and 55 years old to qualify.

At no time is there any cost to the donors.

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