Two Cents Worth – Dec 16, 2015

O’Fallon played host to another “Be the Match” marrow registry event the other day.  Unlike blood drives, at marrow registries you stop by, fill out some paperwork, swab your mouth for a bit, do a few other little things, and add your name and information to a registry of people willing to donate bone marrow if called upon.

The area held a registry event not long ago in support of City Administrator Walter Denton.  This time it was for a kindergartner, Elsa Wiemerslage, who was recently diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a rare form of pediatric cancer. Elsa will have to endure chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. Elsa’s dad, Kevin, is an O’Fallon EMT.

Unfortunately, there is a direct need for folks to not only register, but also agree to donate bone marrow.  Events such as the one held Monday evening at the new O’Fallon Fire Department allow folks to take a few minutes and add their information to the registry, but they need to take the time to do so.

Nearly 80 people came out and registered on Monday, which is a great turnout.  It seemed every few seconds someone else was ringing the bell, designating a new name on the registry or signing a card for Elsa. The event Monday night was a rousing success by all means.

It really is a testiment to O’Fallon that when the call goes out that someone needs help, people immediately step up and ask how they can be of service. The folks that registered Monday night may never be called upon to donate a thing, but, by registering, there is the possbility they will be. I was thrilled and impressed when I was told so many of you came out Monday night.  Pat yourself on the bcak.

I’ve known Kevin Wiemerslage since he and I worked at the Wehrenberg St. Clair 10 Cine together in the late 90’s.  He’s a great guy and a great father who selflessly has devoted his life to helping others.  Now he and his little girl need all of our help.  So the next time there is a bone marrow registry event taking place in the area, please do me a favor and take 20 minutes to get signed up.  You never know whose life you’ll be potentially saving.

Oh, and one other side note, unlike blood which can be given to nearly anyone as long as the blood type is compatible, bone marrow can only be donated if a person is of the same race.  Currently there is a high percentage of caucasians on the registry list and significantly less minorities.  If you are any ethnicity other than caucasian, I would strongly encourage you to register with “Be the Match” because they need your help badly.

And if you’re looking for a way to help Elsa specifically, the O’Fallon EMS Department is hosting a toy drive for Elsa. New and unwrapped toys can be dropped off at the Public Safety Building through December 24 at noon.