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Leukemia patient’s family asks Kansans to get onto national bone marrow registry

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, at 12:11 p.m.

Family members of a 9-year-old Michigan girl battling leukemia will hold bone marrow donor registry drives in Wichita and Newton in coming days.

Like thousands of people with blood cancers, Sydney Balzer needs a life-saving bone marrow transplant. Unfortunately, matches are rare within families, so Sydney’s family members are urging people in south-central Kansas to get screened and onto the national bone marrow registry.

The first drive is 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Koerner Heights Church, 320 N. Meridian in Newton. The second will be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Asbury Church in Wichita, 2801 W. 15th St. There is no cost for the test, which involves swabbing the inside of the cheek.

“I would have never known about being a marrow donor if it wasn’t for Sydney,” said Stefanie Roth, the girl’s aunt. “I am sure many others are unaware like me.”

If a person on the registry is identified as a match, the marrow donation involves an outpatient surgical procedure of removing liquid marrow from the back of the pelvic bone.

For more information or to register as a bone marrow donor, visit DeleteBloodCancer.org.

Reach Suzanne Perez Tobias at 316-268-6567 or stobias@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @suzannetobias.

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