Community Blood Services, Be The Match® national registry spearheading search
WEST ORANGE, NJ (April 18, 2018) – It’s all about finding a match.
For West Orange second-grader Veronica DePauli, 7, the only way to overcome the blood cancer osteopetrosis – which she’s struggled with since last year – is through a bone marrow transplant procedure. The challenge, an all-too-common one, is that identifying a compatible donor is extremely difficult, particularly in a case like Veronica’s in which none of her relatives are a match.
While relatives are the most likely source of a match, 70 percent of all identified compatible donors represent a stranger helping a stranger. For most individuals, a donor is most likely to come from within their own ethnic group. Because Veronica is Hispanic, she faces the challenge of Hispanic donors representing only about 10 percent of the global Be The Match® bone marrow registry, which, along with Montvale, NJ-based Community Blood Services, is assisting the DePauli family with its search.
“This blood cancer that little Veronica faces can be dreadful – pain, a high risk of fractures, trouble walking, and it has already started effecting her vision,” explains Cheryl Bacigalupo, director of Community Blood Services’ HLA Registry. “She’s an extremely courageous young lady, and by sharing her story, we hope to unite communities and organizations to find a donor that can save Veronica.”
Individuals between the ages of 18-44 can sign up as potential marrow donors during a registration drive. Being tested is quick and simple – just a cheek swab and completion of some paperwork. The entire process takes less than 10 minutes to complete.
Veronica’s overall odds of success are bolstered by the efforts of Community Blood Services and Be The Match, which are working with Veronica’s family to host donation drives as well as fundraising events. Upcoming events are as follows:
Fundraiser and Registration Drive:
April 21 (Saturday), Inaugural Cornhole Tournament, Verona Community Center, 880 Bloomfield Ave., Verona NJ, 2 p.m.
April 23 (Monday), Bayonne Fire Dept., 630 Avenue C, Bayonne, NJ, 3-7 p.m.
April 30 (Monday), West Orange H.S., 51 Conforti Avenue, West Orange, NJ, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
May 6 (Saturday), St. Michael’s RC Church, 172 Broadway, Newark, NJ, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
“This is a case where someone contributing just a small amount of time can totally change Veronica’s life,” says Bob Kessler, recruitment director for Community Blood Services. “We’re doing everything we can to assist Veronica and her family, so she can get back to focusing on what makes being a seven-year-old so special – running and playing, drawing picture, and going to school with friends.”
For more information on Veronica, marrow donation, or to learn how to host a drive, click here. www.communitybloodservices.org
To join the online registry for Veronica or other patients searching for a match, click here. https://join.bethematch.org/4veroica
About Community Blood Services
Community Blood Services, a not-for-profit organization that supplies blood and blood products to hospitals in the NJ/NY region, has been devoted to serving the community’s transfusion medicine needs since 1953. Donations of blood and blood products, umbilical cord blood, stem cells, and bone marrow help to join individuals, organizations, businesses, and entire communities together in partnership with us to help save lives.
In 2015, Community Blood Services became part of Blood Systems Inc. (BSI) – one of the nation’s oldest and largest transfusion medical organizations – headquartered in Scottsdale. Founded in 1943, Blood Systems’ blood centers division serves some 700 hospitals across the United States. A founding member of America’s Blood Centers and the AABB (formerly the American Association of Blood Banks), Blood Systems also operates biological products distribution services, a quality consulting group, and a world-renowned transfusion medicine research institute. It also is a partner in the operation of high-volume donor testing laboratories.