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Group hosts bone marrow donation registry drive

Staff Photo: Frank Reddy Kimberly Duncan, center, a donor recruitment coordinator with Delete Blood Cancer, dispenses swabs to possible bone marrow donors Nora Seabrook, left, and Kenice Broussard, right.

Staff Photo: Frank Reddy Kimberly Duncan, center, a donor recruitment coordinator with Delete Blood Cancer, dispenses swabs to possible bone marrow donors Nora Seabrook, left, and Kenice Broussard, right.

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Staff Photo: Frank Reddy Kenice Broussard, left, and Nora Seabrook, right, fill out paperwork Thursday to place their names on a national registry for bone marrow transplant donors.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- "Heroes Wanted."

Those were the words printed across the tops of fliers handed out Thursday at Gwinnett Medical Center. Volunteers who offered the pamphlets to passersby directed them toward the hospital's cafeteria, where organization Delete Blood Cancer was hosting a bone marrow donation registry drive.

A global organization, Delete Blood Cancer aims to lead the fight to eradicate blood cancer by "empowering people to take action, give bone marrow and save lives," according to its website.

Thursday's registry drive, co-sponsored by Gwinnett Medical Center, sought to do just that.

The message was close to home for Katrina Peed, 18, whose mother, Duluth resident Marina Peed, 47, needs a blood stem cell transplant and seeks a full match to save her life.

Peed was one of more than a dozen volunteers at the hospital Thursday, directing registrants through the process.

"It would be amazing to find a match for my mom," she said, taking a break from her duties. "A lot of people don't realize how easy the process is."

Placing one's name on the national registry is as simple as filling out paperwork and giving a saliva sample with a cotton swab. Only about 1 in every 500 people placed on the registry will ever be contacted.

Those that do may donate stem cells or marrow with a procedure similar to donating blood or platelets or through a method that collects marrow from the back of one's pelvic bone using a syringe (while subject is under general anesthesia).

Marina Peed, who has helped in efforts to raise awareness for the organization, said it's been "inspiring."

"I'm reminded that everybody in life has a journey and something they're dealing with whether it's visible or not," Marina said. "It's motivated and inspired me to get people to learn about this and get their names on the registry.

Added Marina: "It's a really easy way to pay it forward."

Dayna McEvoy, another volunteer and also a friend of Marina's, said she helped out Thursday because she cares about the woman.

"I'll do anything I can to help her," McEvoy said. "People really have a chance to make a big difference in the lives of others."

To learn more about Delete Blood Cancer or to register online, visit www.deletebloodcancer.org