Health & Fitness

Ruben Molina's family organizes bone marrow registry drive

After Ruben Molina of Wichita was diagnosed with cancer at age 14 in 1992, he campaigned nationwide to get people signed onto the bone marrow donor registry.

He died four years later, before he could be matched with a donor, but after helping at least 30 Hispanic children find their match, said his mother, Lola Loredo.

This year, to mark the 15th anniversary of his death, a memorial drive will be held to get people screened and onto the registry. A cheek swab is all that's required.

"Now that his siblings and cousins are older, they decided they wanted to get together and do something in his memory," Loredo said of how the drive came to be.

Her son's campaign to help himself and other children with cancer included a public-service announcement with then-President Reagan about the bone marrow registry, Loredo said.

The drive will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Wichita Children's Home, 810 N. Holyoke. There is no cost for the test, which used to involve taking blood but now is a swabbing of the inside of the cheek.

Ruben's family is asking those who were tested previously to give a donation at the drive to help offset the cost of the testing.

Organizations that help children who have cancer will be on hand with information about their services.

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.