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Become a bone marrow or stem cell donor

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – The Bone Marrow Recruitment Drive will be held across the Front Range bases, including Peterson Air Force Base, Schriever Air Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, the U.S. Air Force Academy and Buckley Air Force Base. Airmen and civilians can register to become a donor at Peterson AFB starting April 23 – April 27, 2018. (Courtesy graphic)

Story by Robert Lingley

21st Space Wing Public Affairs

Airmen and civilians will have the opportunity to help someone in need by putting a cotton swab in their mouth and signing their name on a piece of paper next week.

Starting Monday, April 23, anyone at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, can sign up to join the national registry of bone marrow and stem cell donors through Friday, April 27 for the Bone Marrow Recruitment Drive.

“There are certain individuals who may suffer from various types of cancer that require treatment or bone marrow who, due to lack of participation, may not have that perfect match,” said Tech. Sgt. Thomas Echelmeyer, 21st Medical Group, Bioenvironmental Engineering readiness and training noncommissioned officer in charge.

“In order to be a perfect math, it’s incredibly rare, so once an individual is that match, if they’re military they will get permissive temporary duty. It’s also all expenses paid for that individual to provide whatever sample, whether it be bone marrow or stem cell.”

Taking place across all Front Range Air Force bases, including Schriever Air Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, the U.S. Air Force Academy and Buckley Air Force Base, tables will be set up at the Peterson AFB Exchange and the Family Health Clinic April 24 – 26 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for anyone to stop by and register to become a donor.
Squadron representatives can also collect swabs within their squadron if someone can’t make it to the exchange or clinic.

If you are matched to donate bone marrow or stem cells, you will be sedated while in the procedure, Echelmeyer said, adding when you register to become a donor, you should understand what you’re committing to before signing up.

“Just know and understand your commitment,” Echelmeyer said. “If someone doesn’t want to register, if you don’t feel like you can donate, then don’t register. It would be hard if you became a match and unfortunately you decide not be a donor.”

Echelmeyer and Senior Master Sgt. Kelli Jackson are the points of contact for the 21st Space Wing Bone Marrow Recruitment Drive. Jackson can be reached at 719-556-1090 and Echelmeyer can be reached at 719-556-7721. More information can be found at www.salutetolife.org.

“You have the potential to fix the situation, which means you can change the world,” Echelmeyer said.

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