Giving the Gift of Life - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/29/03

Giving the Gift of Life

A Savannah man is fighting for his life. Billy Farr suffers from a life-threatening blood disease and desperately needs a bone marrow transplant to save his life; unfortunately, none of his relatives are a match.

On Saturday, dozens of people came out to the Red Cross Donor Center in Savannah hoping to donate bone marrow for him. "We had people waiting on us when we got here this morning," said Farr's sister, Francis Hardigree.

Billie Holland was one of many people who lined up for the chance to give the gift of life. "It's during the holidays and I really wanted to give to charity," she explained. "I thought this was really the best gift that I could give."

Brittany Robinson would agree. Robinson is survivor of aplastic anemia, a rare disease that shuts down the immune system, but thanks to a bone marrow transplant, she's doing well. "Basically, it's not remission. I'm cured. It's over. It's like it never happened," she said. "These people are heroes in my eyes. They've taken the opportunity to save the life of a stranger."

The initial process is easy. Donor candidates fill out a few simple forms and donate a vial of blood. If there's a match, they're called to be a donor. The patient's insurance pays for all tests and procedures. Even people who have been deferred from giving blood may still be able to donate bone marrow.

"It's just part of giving back to your community," added Holland. "I really believe that."

For more information on becoming a donor, call the National Marrow Donor Program at 1-800-MARROW-2 or visit their website at http://www.marrow.org.

Reported by David Rousseau, drousseau@wtoc.com

 

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