by Lisa Tome
Donna Owens knows that the perfect match can save your life.
Owens, of Conowingo, received a cancer diagnosis and subsequent life-saving bone marrow transplant in 2010. "I was in the lucky percentage. I had a family match," she said.
Kelly Backert Ellison, 32, is one of those who may need the services of Be The Match. Backert Ellison, who lives near Rising Sun, is a married mother of three.
She has battled kidney cancer and is currently fighting Aplastic anemia, a condition that occurs when the body stops producing enough new blood cells. Treatment for aplastic anemia may include medications, blood transfusions, or a stem cell transplant.
Backert Ellison is currently receiving treatment, six months of the equivalent of chemotherapy.
Both women are keeping an eye on two upcoming events.
On Tuesday, October 14, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., a benefit for Be The Match, the bone marrow and stem cell national registry, will be held at Chick-Fil-A, Route 40, Elkton.
Proceeds from this benefit will help pay for the cost of swab kits for those who sign up for the registry.
Anyone interested, who meets the guidelines, can join the National Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Registry. That event is set for November 9, from noon until 2 p.m. at Grace Bible Chapel, 1949 Biggs Highway, Rising Sun.
This takes 10 minutes of your time to fill out paper work and do a mouth swab. There is no cost for the test for those ages 18-44.
One of the hopes is to add to the national registry and perhaps find a match for Kelly Backert-Ellison.
"The national registry is so lacking in people. We are trying to build the national registry," said Owens. "This is our community jumping in and doing this. I am committed to this and excited. I wouldn't be here without a bone marrow match."
The Be The Match local events aren't solely for Backert Ellison. But there is hope that a match for her will be found. The need for people to register across the nation is great.
"I am so humbled by the awareness and very thankful for the support," Backert Ellison said. "My biggest hope is that the donor registry would increase not just for me. But that would be lovely."
Anyone who would like more information about either of these events may call Donna Owens at 443-350-1433.
Online you can find more information about donating at bethematch.org.