The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 16, 2005

Cedar Rapids Marrow Donor Drive Seeks To Help Local Boy

A bone marrow donor registration drive scheduled for Nov. 19 represents a desperate attempt by a local family to find a potential donor who might be able to help save the life a 12-year-old boy.

Mary Hachey of Cedar Rapids wants to make a lifesaving marrow transplant possible for her grandson, Greg Hachey. Greg has fought leukemia since May 2000. A relapse in 2004 led to an international search for a suitable, unrelated donor. To date, none has been found. 

Greg is half Filipino and half Caucasian. His best chance for finding a matched donor is to test other people with Filipino heritage. Tissue type is inherited much like hair, eye and skin color. It is more likely for a marrow match to be found in a person with the same ethnicity as the patient. Persons of minority backgrounds are currently underrepresented in the registries.

A donor drive to help Greg and his family is scheduled, by appointment only, from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Iowa Blood and Cancer Care Center in Cedar Rapids. Appointments can be scheduled for that day by calling the Iowa Marrow Donor Program toll free at 800-944-8220 or 319-356-3337. People interested in joining the registry prior to the registration drive should contact the Iowa Marrow Donor Program.

A contracted lab charges $65 per person for tissue typing. These funds must be raised by the program before a person can join the registry. Some grant funding is available for all races, but funding for Caucasian donors is currently exhausted. For this reason, Hachey and her family are soliciting donations to pay for tissue typing of Caucasian donors. They established the Greg Hachey Donor Fund at Commercial Federal Bank. 

The Iowa Marrow Donor Program seeks committed volunteers, ages 18 to 60 and in general good health. When joining the Iowa Marrow Donor Program, a person's tissue type is registered as part of the Iowa and National Marrow Donor Programs' registries. Once registered, a volunteer may be called upon to donate marrow or blood stem cells to a person needing a transplant to fight a life-threatening disease. Registration is easy, requiring completion of a simple consent form and a small blood sample. 

The Iowa Marrow Donor Program was created in 1981 and became affiliated with the National Marrow Donor Program in 1991. On average, 25 to 30 donors are called to donate each year from the Iowa Marrow Donor Program's registry of almost 24,000 persons, and many more are called for further testing. Approximately 2,000 people join the Iowa and national registries each year through the Iowa Marrow Donor Program. 

For more information about the donor drive or to receive application forms, call the Iowa Marrow Donor Program toll free at 800-944-8220 or locally at 319-356-3337. For more information regarding Greg Hachey's case, contact Mary Hachey at 319-396-1346. For more information regarding the Iowa Marrow Donor Program, please contact Debra Hoyle, membership coordinator of the Iowa Marrow Donor Program, by e-mail at debra-hoyle@uiowa.edu. Information about the program can be found online at www.iowamarrow.org.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at http://www.uihealthcare.com.

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Health Care, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room E110 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945, thomas-moore@uiowa.edu.