April 7 bone marrow drive to help find match for 15 year old with leukemia


normal medium large


    With no matches in national registry, family to hold recruitment event in Glen Cove on April 7

    STONY BROOK, N.Y., March 26, 2009 - Stony Brook University Medical Center is helping to raise awareness and generate

    Alex Mele with the SBU Seawolves Baseball team

    bone marrow donors for the national registry, in the hope that one might be a match for Alex Mele, a 15-year-old from Coram who was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) in November 2008. AML is an aggressive form of leukemia, rare in children and difficult to treat; a bone marrow transplant is Alex's best chance for a cure.

    During a press conference to create awareness and announce an April 7 blood and bone marrow recruitment drive at the Knights of Columbus in Glen Cove, members of the Stony Brook University Seawolves Baseball team showed up to show their support for Alex's cause. B.L. Frazer, a representative from the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) was also present at the conference and brought along registry kits so Seawolves team members and others could be screened and added as potential donors in the national registry. In total, nearly 30 people were screened and added to the national registry.

    Donating bone marrow is a proven way to help leukemia and other cancer patients in need of a bone marrow transplant, which is recommended when chemotherapy alone is not likely to provide long-term remission. Stony Brook University Medical Center works through the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) to arrange bone marrow transplantations for patients who have a matched donor. The need for bone marrow donations is paramount, as some patients like Alex Mele do not match from the existing pool of NMDP donors.

    Alex's 18-year-old brother Lou, his family, friends and Lou's fellow firefighters from the Glen Cove Fire Department are organizing the bone marrow registry drive and a blood drive on April 7, which will take place from 3:30 pm to 9:00 pm at the Knights of Columbus Hall located at 83 Sea Cliff Ave. in Glen Cove. For more information, call 1-800-627-7692 or 516-807-3660 or go to www.marrow.org.