ARL employees come together to save lives; bone marrow drive a success

November 17, 2010

Bertha Weaver and Sheryl Coleman volunteered at ARL's first Bone Marrow Registration Drive on Nov. 1 at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. Bertha Weaver and Sheryl Coleman volunteered at ARL's first Bone Marrow Registration Drive on Nov. 1 at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

For approximately 24 years, the Department of Defense has supported bone marrow registration through the C.W. Bill Young/DoD Marrow Donor Program, with more than 400,000 service members having registered as bone marrow donors.

At Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) employees have added their names to the numerous DoD personnel considered as potential life-saving matches.

The first ARL bone marrow drive was held on Nov. 1 at the Ballistics Research Laboratory Hall. Due to an increased interest, another drive was held a few days later on Nov. 10.

Registering your bone marrow is quick, painless and requires no blood donations.

ARL Patent Counsel and Intellectual Property Law Specialist Christos Kyriakou has worked with ARL for three years and participated in ARL's first bone marrow drive.

"This is something I can easily do to help others with cancer," he said. "I have a son - if it was my child, I would want to help and I would hope others would too."

ARL employee Christos Kyriakou uses each of the four swabs provided in the sample kit to collects cells from each cheek quadrant. Each swab kit is sealed, put in a box and forwarded to the processing center. ARL employee Christos Kyriakou uses each of the four swabs provided in the sample kit to collects cells from each cheek quadrant. Each swab kit is sealed, put in a box and forwarded to the processing center.

One ARL employee who has donated bone marrow to help save a loved one is Bertha Weaver, an administrative specialist with ARL's Human Research and Engineering Directorate.

"My brother was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, which is also known as pre-leukemia," said Weaver. "It was an easy decision for me to help him."

On Nov. 11, 2009, Weaver donated 343 million bone marrow cells at the University of Maryland Medical Center after taking special shots to help her exude bone marrow into the blood. The next day, she donated another 373 million cells.

"I am very grateful for my brother," she added. "Being tired and lying still in a bed was worth it for him and to save his life."

According to program specialist Sheryl Coleman, ARL registered over 35 employees during both drives.

"All it takes is a few minutes and a simple swab between your cheek and gum for the process to be complete," she said. "It is important to save lives whether it is a relative, a co-worker, or a total stranger - this is a life saving event for all."

 

Last Update / Reviewed: November 17, 2010