Local cancer patients urge you to ‘Be the Match’

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A celebration of life moved through the halls of VCU Massey Cancer Center on Thursday.

Patients, caregivers and hospital staff joined together to raise awareness about bone marrow donation.  Each step they took was a true testament to why it is so important.

“It does give so many people life,” says Brenda Gradwell, who is nineteen months out from her transplant to treat Leukemia.

Every three minutes, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer.  They need marrow to survive, yet 70% do not have a suitable donor in their family.  That’s where the Be the Match registry comes in.

“What people don’t realize is they can donate a part of themselves, an organ that can regenerate but also more importantly gives a person a chance at life, a second chance at life,” explains Dr. Harold Chung, a Hematologist/Oncologist at Massey.

Some patients participating in the walk throughout the hospital halls are still waiting for their transplant, so the group gives them much-needed smiles and support.

“It’s so great because it’s so encouraging and everybody is so optimistic and we have some fun even though there are some really down days.  Things like this make you have more hope,” says Gradwell about the walk.

Adds Dr. Chung, “We’ve found a way to celebrate life together.”

You can register to donate marrow and show your support for the cause at the 2015 Be the Match Walk/Run.  It will be held on Saturday, June 6 at Brown’s Island, starting at 7:30 a.m.

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