Once again, Archbold came through.
“Match for Maddy & Others,” the drive to register bone marrow donors for persons fighting leukemia and other forms of blood cancer, netted 969 participants.
The drive was conducted Saturday, Dec. 15, at Archbold High School.
Along with those who requested home swabbing kits through the Internet, the figure is anticipated to top 1,000.
The event was spurred by Maddy Lambert, the nine-year-old fourth-grade daughter of Russ and Dorothy, who has fought leukemia since 2009.
Just before Thanksgiving she discovered she had relapsed. She is a patient at C.S. Mott’s Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
An Amazing Day
“Saturday was an amazing day,” said Jen Hurst, Maddy’s fourth grade teacher, who put the drive together.
But Hurst didn’t do it alone.
“We had more than 70 volunteers who helped make this event possible.
“We planned this drive in less than three weeks, and I think we can feel very proud about our efforts,” she said.
People were lined up to rub the insides of their cheeks with cotton swabs. The swabs were collected for DKMS Americas, an organization that maintains a national registry of potential bone marrow donors.
The swabs are tested for tissue type. If one of those on the registry is a match for Maddy, a small amount of a person’s stem cells, harvested from either blood or bone marrow, could give her, or another blood cancer patient, another chance to fight the disease.
“We kept the line moving along all day. I don’t believe the whole process took anyone longer than 15 minutes,” Hurst said.
“I’m sure we can easily say we helped add over 1,000 names to the National Bone Marrow Registry,” she said.
Christian Montgomery, a donor recruitment coordinator for DKMS America, was in Archbold on the day of the event.
“I was the one running around like a chicken with his head cut off,” he said.
“Match for Maddy & Others” had an “amazing turnout. It was incredible to watch all the volunteers, friends, and family come together to put on the event.
“We registered 969 donors, with dozens more registered online because of Maddy’s story.
“We’re thrilled,” he said.
The turnout was a personal best for Montgomery, Hurst said.
Gifts of Hope, Life
“It was amazing to see the support of the people within our community and the surrounding areas, many of whom were complete strangers.
“We played a part in offer- ing the gifts of hope and life to others in need,” said Hurst.
“I know that the Lambert family is extremely humbled and grateful to everyone for their outpouring of support and love for them and Maddy.
“Please continue to keep all of them in your prayers, especially sweet little Maddy. She needs lots of prayers for healing.”
Those who were unable to attend the Saturday event can obtain a kit that allows them to swab their own cheeks at home by going to the DKMS website, www.deletebloodcancer.org.