Burke Catholic to hold bone marrow registry drive on Friday

Burke Catholic’s boys’ basketball team will host a bone marrow registry drive on Friday during the jayvee and varsity games against Middletown, starting at 5:30 p.m.

John Kelly, a Burke Catholic assistant varsity coach and his wife, Maureen, helped put together the event with Be the Hero, For the Hero. It is a non-profit organization founded by the family of former Warwick resident Ray Chelsen. Chelsen, who served as an FDNY firefighter, died in 2011 from 9/11 related multiple myeloma. His wife, Trish, is the president and co-founder of Be the Hero, For the Hero.

Fans can come to Friday’s game and donate bone marrow for the Be The Match Registry, which helps individuals facing life threatening diseases receive bone marrow transplants. Signing up for is free and only requires a swab of the inside of a person’s cheek. According to Be The Match, one person is diagnosed with a blood cancer every four minutes. Every 10 minutes, someone dies from a blood cancer.

Anyone in good health who is between the ages of 18 to 44 can donate. Bone marrow transplants save the lives of individuals facing diseases such as leukemia and sickle cell anemia. John Kelly, 45, had Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS), a disease that arises in the bone marrow due to a disorder of hematopoietic stem cells, the immature cells from which all blood cells develop.

Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts was diagnosed with MDS in the fall of 2012.

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