The Topeka Capital-Journal: Topekan wants more bone marrow donors, plans registry event
By Julia Howell
Brett Matlock realized people of color hold a low presence in the nation’s bone marrow registries when his 5-year-old son, Josiah, had a relapse in leukemia treatment and needed to find a donor.
According to the Be A Match Bone Marrow Registry, less than 20 percent of minorities are registered to donate bone marrow.
For the Matlock family, finding a donor was a quick process when Josiah’s mother turned out to be a match. His family, however, wanted to do something to help other families who weren’t so lucky, Matlock said.
With Be The Match, Matlock is organizing a registry drive at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library from 3 to 6 p.m. Aug. 16 to not only get people registered, but to also emphasize registering minorities.
Allyson Hayes, a pediatric oncologist, has worked with Josiah during his treatment at Children’s Mercy for the past couple of years. She has been a key part in dealing with his relapse and bone marrow transplant.
“For leukemia, transplant is not the up front plan,” Hayes said. “One of the biggest misconceptions is that if someone is a match they are contracted. You can always decline. You are not committed to doing anything.”