Bone Marrow Drives

People always ask how they can help. Locally, we’ve had people cook for us, walk the dog, rake the yard, and send cards. Further away, people have sent cards or stayed in touch to offer support. We tell everyone to give blood (we’ve lost count as to how many units of red blood cells and platelets he’s received) and feel free to register for the bone marrow registry.

For most that’s enough.

For Robbie’s friends at Shore Leave, that wasn’t enough. Robert Longo, Karen Donnelly and others from the committee decided to augment their annual blood drive with a bone marrow registry drive. They went out and received a grant to cover the costs so people could donate risk free. All weekend long people wore yellow buttons asking “R U a Match?” Eighty people registered across Friday and Saturday which was terrific.

The convention also did an auction with money going to the Marrow Foundation. The biggest ticket item was a George Takei caricature, drawn by George, which he and I auctioned off Sunday afternoon. It fetched a whopping $650. All told, they raised over $2800.

My pal Kevin Dilmore received permission from his employer, Hallmark, to bring five variant Uhura ornaments, signed by the artist. At the beginning of the masquerade Saturday night, I had a ball auctioning them off, raising an additional $1500 or so for the Tommy Fund, a local charity that aids family’s of patients plus covers salary for first year oncology fellows.

Meantime, Robbie’s friend Marianne Honeycutt is working at the Fairfield U. bookstore this summer and caught wind that Swim Across the Sound was holding their annual bone marrow registry on the 18th. She decided to use the opportunity to get people to donate to potentially help Robbie. She got in touch with the right people then posted it on Facebook, inviting about 100 people. Well, you know what happens next…within days some 1000 people had been invited.

Word spread and his priest asked for the info to pass around the parish. The Democratic Town Committee also passed the info on line. A friend told a friend told a friend…

The event was scheduled from 12:30 to 6:30 and in the past, the Swim event netted 30 registrants a year. This year, the people came and came and came, so things didn’t end until 7:45. Marianne’s mom Denise and our friend Martha Brooks manned the table every minute, with no relief. People registered, talked to a nurse, got swabs taken, and the material was packed for study. For many it was an unexpected high school reunion while others came from everywhere including our friends Paul and Robin Kupperberg from Stamford.

By the time the worn out people called it a night, 101 people had joined the registry.

Robbie and his parents are honored by the support and thank one and all.