Jeanne Sager | Democrat
Faith Metzinger helped extend the life of a toddler via her bone marrow donation.
Bone Marrow Drive: Match for life
By Jeanne Sager
CALLICOON April 12, 2013 When people first found out Faith Metzinger had come up as a DNA match for a little boy with leukemia, the first question they’d ask was “Are you going to donate your bone marrow?”
It’s a question the Kenoza Lake resident still hasn’t wrapped her head around nearly three years after undergoing a procedure to have a bit of her bone marrow removed and transplanted in the little boy’s body. When she’d first been contacted, her question wasn’t one of whether she’d do it but how soon.
There was a 3-year-old boy who needed her, and the mom who has run a registered day care out of her home for more than 20 years wasn’t about to let him down.
She’s still fighting for him, and kids like him today as organizer of the Bone Marrow Drive fast approaching at the Villa Roma in Callicoon. Inspired by the 2008 drive in Jeffersonville where she and hundreds of other local residents allowed their cheeks to be swabbed so their DNA could be placed in a national bone marrow registry to be drawn on when folks with cancers and blood disorders are in need of donors Metzinger has thrown herself full barrel into adding to the donor rolls.
She set the drive for April 19 and 20 specifically because it will coincide with the weekend that New York State’s childcare providers will be meeting at the Villa. She hopes that like her, their work with children will convince the providers to allow themselves to be swabbed. But she isn’t stopping there. Metzinger would like to see everyone in Sullivan County eligible to be swabbed. After all, the more people who sign up, the more chances there are that people who need marrow will find a match.
According to the statistics available from DKMS, the non-profit Metzinger is working with to plan the drive, six out of 10 patients never receive the life-saving transplant they need because matches are so hard to come by. Of the 501 people swabbed in Jeffersonville back in 2008, so far just four have come up as matches, including Metzinger.
“Now I’m such an advocate for this,” the mother of two grown children said, “And maybe it’s because I realized the odds of being a match for someone.”
She will likely never be called again as a donor, but Metzinger says she’d gladly do it again. Contrary to rumors about painful procedures, she said it was anything but. The procedure was fast and relatively painless. Other than being told to stay in bed for a day, and a small scar, she was back to chasing after her daycare charges in no time.
The procedure was even cost-free. Everything from her trips to the hospital in New York City for tests to any medical bills were covered completely.
What she got from it, on the other hand, was life-changing. Although the 3-year-old she helped save eventually died of something unrelated to his leukemia, Metzinger feels she was his match for a reason, so she could try to help others.
“It’s just incredible to help someone. It sounds corny to say it, but it really is,” Metzinger explained. “Doing something like this; it changes you a little bit. You appreciate things more.”
And all it takes is a 10-second cheek swab.
To the bone
What: Bone marrow drive.
When: April 19 and April 20 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.
Where: Villa Roma Resort, Callicoon.
Who: Open to people ages 18 to 55.
Info: Visit http://www.facebook.com/events/267509830045888.