JERSEY SHORE - Donnie Laubscher was a healthy 47-year-old man when blood work from a routine colonoscopy suggested something was wrong. After a marrow biopsy and appointments at the local cancer center, he found out he had myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare and potentially fatal stem cell disorder.
Laubscher's doctors believe his best chance at survival is to receive a stem cell transplant, but first a matching donor must be found.
To help him, a bone marrow donor registration drive is being held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Elks Lodge 1057, 203 N. Main St., to increase the odds of finding a match. Anyone can do a cheek swab to register as a marrow donor.
The drive was arranged by April Hennigan, of Jersey Shore, who works with Laubscher's wife Angie. Hennigan contacted DKMS, the world's largest bone marrow donor center, to set up the donor registration.
"If I can swab a little over 500 people, I'd be thrilled," Hennigan said.
She found statistics that show for every 500 people swabbed, one might be a match for someone.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Bone marrow donor registration
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Elks Lodge 1057, 203 N. Main St., Jersey Shore
"The more people you get swabbed, the more chance you have of not only helping Donnie, but anyone who needs bone marrow," she said.
To qualify, donors must be between the ages of 18 and 55 and in good health. Registrants must weigh more than 110 pounds, but not exceed a body mass index of 40. Registering donors can be matched with anyone in the system who needs a bone marrow transplant.
People who register to be a bone marrow donor stay on an anonymous list until their 61st birthday and are expected to update their contact information until then in case they match someone who needs the bone marrow.
If a match is found, a representative will contact the donor to fill out a health questionnaire and possibly undergo additional testing, according to DKMS.
"It would be a miracle if we can find one for Donnie, but it would be a miracle if we could find one for anyone," Hennigan said. "Whose life wouldn't you want to save?"