U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Deborah Durgan, 4th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircrew ground equipment technician, swabs the inside of her cheek during a bone marrow donor registration drive on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., Sept. 27, 2012. Team Seymour volunteers, along with C.W. Bill Young Marrow Donor Center members, hosted the drive to support a 14-year-old dependant with Dyskeratosis Congenita, a type of inherited bone marrow failure syndrome. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Courtney Richardson/Released)
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Desiree Koehler, 4th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircrew ground equipment technician, registers for the Department of Defense Marrow Donor Program on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., Sept. 27, 2012. The bone marrow donor registration drive was held in hopes of finding a donor match for Seth Simonsen, 14-year-old dependant, who was diagnosed with Dyskeratosis Congenita. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Courtney Richardson/Released)
by Tech. Sgt. Tammie Moore
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
10/11/2012 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- Nearly 200 Airmen fromf Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., added their names to the C. W. Bill Young Marrow Donor Center database as willing bone marrow donors during a registration drive Sept. 27.
Airmen and base community members teamed together to make the event, coordinated by Capt. Amber Millerchip, a success.
"I put the request out across the wing for volunteers, and it was amazing to see so many stepped-up and raised their hand to help," said Millerchip, 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs chief.
The idea for the drive was originally devised by Millerchip to assist a fellow public affairs specialist, Chief Master Sgt. Richard Simonsen, the public affairs senior enlisted leader at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Md. In 2009, both of his children were diagnosed with dyskeratosis congenita, a type of inherited bone marrow failure syndrome. His daughter Sarah, 19, received a transplant from an anonymous donor, Aug. 9. His son Seth however, still waits for a matching donor.
"I feel honored that there are people at Seymour Johhson willing to go into the database," Simonsen said. "The chances of matching any particular non-relative is remote, but by being in the database you could be called upon to save a life."
In addition to helping Seth, drive volunteers also shared the story of three other military children in need of bone marrow donations.
Registration drives are important because there is a constant need for bone marrow donors. Most patients in need of a bone marrow transplant will not find a match in their family; this is a way to increase their odds of finding a match," said Tech. Sgt. Crystal Ybarra, 4th Medical Support Squadron NCO in charge of laboratory services. "Also, this is for DOD personnel, so it is just another way to help out our brothers and sisters in arms. They sacrifice so much every day, why make them sacrifice their spouse or child if there is a possibility of a cure."
It is not too late for individuals who missed the event to register as bone marrow donors. People who have a military ID card can do so at the 4th Medical Group laboratory.
"Registering is a painless process. You have about a one in 200 chance of being selected," Ybarra said. "If selected, and you happen to pass the physical part of the interview, you will be put under anesthesia for the procedure. The recipient, on the other hand will not, and many of them are little children. Whatever pain or fear you may have about the actual donation procedure, it is nothing compared to what the potential recipient has already gone through."
For more information about donating bone marrow, visit www.dodmarrow.com or call 1-800-MARROW-3.
10/12/2012 8:43:12 AM ET Thank you Seymour Johnson Giving marrow saves lives. Seth is grateful for your willingness to help.
CMSgt Richard Simonsen, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling