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AT-TAQADDUM, Iraq (July 28, 2008) - Lance Cpl. Tom A. Leu, 20, from Clinton, Iowa, a diesel mechanic with Maintenance Company, 1st Supply Battalion (-) (Reinforced), 1st Marine Logistics Group, swabs the inside of his cheek to collect a DNA sample, July 28. Service members and contract civilians donated an oral swab sample to register for the C.W. Bill Young Department of Defense Marrow Donor Program. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Cindy G. Alejandrez)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Cindy G. Alejandrez

Taqaddum service members register to donate bone marrow

28 Jul 2008 | Lance Cpl. Cindy G. Alejandrez

AT-TAQADDUM, Iraq (July 28, 2008) – More than 140 service members and contract civilians registered for the C.W. Bill Young Department of Defense Marrow Donor Program here, July 28.

Corpsmen with Marine Wing Support Squadron 374’s Aviation Combat Element Medical collected oral swab samples to send for marrow-type testing.

The program helps persons in need of bone marrow transplants, such as cancer patients.

Military personnel make good donors because of their strict health requirements, said Petty Officer 3rd Class Ginabob C. Cruz, a lab technician with MWSS-374, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward).

 “We get yearly (human immunodeficiency virus) testing, and hepatitis testing,” added Cruz, 25, from Makati City, Philippines.

Cpl. David T. Warren, 25, from Tuskegee, Ala., said he registered because of the significant impact his possible donation would be to a patient in need.

“In case somebody I knew needed it, I’d be there for them,” added Warren, an ammunition technician chief, Headquarters and Service Battery, 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, who also brought along other Marines to register.

 Master Sgt. Dean E. Weichert, motor transport operations chief, Transportation Support Company,1st Supply Battalion (-) (Reinforced), 1st MLG, donated bone marrow six years ago. He said the experience was rewarding, despite the pain after the procedure.

“During that time, I just kept thinking about what the 7-year-old girl was going through to receive the donation,” explained Weichert, 38, from York, Pa.  “I don’t know all the details, but I do know she spent many months in and out of the hospital going through (chemotherapy) treatments for leukemia, and had to go through an intense session just before receiving my bone marrow.”

Weichert said the process was without comparison to what the 7-year-old was enduring to save her own life.

“The more volunteers we have, the better chances a patient has of finding a match,” said Cruz who plans to hold more registry events.


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