Supporters from as far away as Yukon turned out at the Newcastle First Baptist Church (FBC) to join a national registry of bone marrow donors.
The donor drive on May 8 was held in association with the Oklahoma Blood Institute in honor of Trey Freeman, the son of FBC pastor Jeremy Freeman.
“Trey has had a couple of bone marrow transplants,” Dave Watson, music and worship pastor for FBC, said. “Because the blood cells have not taken to his body exactly the right way, he’s still fighting the bad cells. The good cells have not been able to take over his body.”
Freeman was diagnosed with X-Linked Severe Immunodeficiency syndrome (X-SCID). It is a condition where the body does not produce enough of certain kinds of lymphocytes, white blood cells that are found in the body’s lymphatic system. In the absence of these lymphocytes, other varieties of lymphocytes become defective.
Having two bone marrow transplants already, Freeman will probably require a third, Watson said. While the last marrow transplant came from a relative, this time around Freeman will need a non-relative donor match.
Participants in the drive collected a swab of cells from the inside of their mouths, on the cheek. Those cells will be sent to a national donor database, where they could possibly be matched up as a marrow donor to anyone in the country, including Freeman.
“The response has been fantastic,” Watson said. “The church and the community and the area has just jumped in to be a part of this great event.”
Anyone who wants to join the registry but was unable to attend the drive can do so at home by ordering a kit online at marrow.org.