It’s not unusual for Forest Hills residents to find ways to make charitable contributions at the or any of the other houses of worship in the neighborhood.
But ordinarily those contributions don’t come in the form of DNA on cotton swabs.
Long Island resident Nora Getchell, 6, was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia last May. The disease forces her to undergo near weekly blood transfusions, and the only cure is a bone marrow transplant.
So Saturday afternoon, Getchell’s aunt and uncle, Amy and Matt Corrigan, hosted a bone marrow drive at the Church in the Gardens, to help their niece and to raise awareness of the disease.
“It's amazing the people that come out to donate, and how they band together, especially around a child,” said Amy Corrigan. “Someone who has so much life left.”
Two weeks before the drive, Nora matched 30 potential donors on the nationwide marrow registry — but the Corrigans decided that keeping the drive open would encourage more people to join the registry that has meant so much to Nora and her family.
Nicole Brown of the New York Blood Center was coordinating the drive on Saturday, and said the effort to raise awareness and register donors was vitally important.
“You have a one in 10,000 chance of ever matching someone,” Brown said. “So making sure that donors are committed and active is so important. This could be a potentially life-saving procedure.”
Donors at the event Saturday gave four cheek-swabs of DNA to be tested and stored at the national database. Anyone 18- to 60-years-old is eligible to donate, barring any physical or health issues that would rule out the proceedure.
To learn more about severe aplastic anemia,