Drive Could Benefit Former County Resident
Todd McDonald is fighting a war.
Since McDonald is a major in the United States Army, this simple fact may not be surprising. What might surprise readers is that the war isn't in Iraq, and it isn't in Afghanistan.
McDonald has certainly contributed to those efforts in the past.
But, since 2005, he has been fighting an even more personal war with chronic myelogenous leukemia. Approximately 22,500 other Americans also have this form of cancer.
McDonald has been living with this cancer for four years. The therapy that has been used to treat him thus far is no longer effective and is no longer an option.
His doctors near Atlanta, Ga., want to prevent this invasive disease from progressing to the next phase.
"He needs a bone marrow transplant, and he needs it very soon," says a spokesman.
On the Sunday following Thanksgiving, Nov. 29, from noon to 4 p.m., a bone marrow testing day will be held at Community Congregational Church in Southern Pines.
The event will be coordinated by the National Marrow Donor Program, which will be waiving the fee normally associated with the quick, noninvasive and painless test. The procedure consists simply of three swabs taken from inside of the potential donor's mouth.
All potential donors must be between the ages of 18 and 60 and in good health.
"Should you prove to be a match for Todd, or any of the others who are waiting on the National Bone Marrow Transplant list, you will have the opportunity to discuss your final decision to donate with medical professionals and will also undergo some additional testing before making a donation in what is usually an outpatient procedure," says the spokesman. "Donors never pay for donating and are never paid to donate."
For the donor, it is a big decision.
"But, it is an even bigger opportunity to make a difference in the life of an ill person, as well as in the lives of everyone who knows them and loves them," says the spokesman. "As you spend Thanksgiving Day thankful for all that you have, consider a gift that you might also be able to give -- the gift of life."
McDonald, son of Jim and Patsy McDonald, of Southern Pines, graduated from Pinecrest High School, where he played golf and baseball.
"For his parents and sister, Jackie, it could mean another Christmas together," says the spokesman. "For McDonald, it could mean that he gets to watch his 10-year-old daughter and six-year-old son grow up, and that his wife, Kim Sanders McDonald, who is also from Southern Pines, would have her husband with her to celebrate Thanksgiving next year, and the year after that, and the year after that."
Community Congregational Church is located at 141 N. Bennett St., on the corner of N. Bennett and W. New Hampshire Avenue in downtown Southern Pines, next door to the Jefferson Inn and behind The Pilot's Pennsylvania Avenue offices.
National Bone Marrow Transplant staff members will be available to answer questions.
"Refreshments will be offered, as will sincere and heartfelt thankfulness to all who participate," says the spokesman.
Call the Community Congregational Church at (910) 692-8468 with any questions.
For more information on donating bone marrow, visit the National Marrow Donor Program at www.marrow.org.
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