Thursday morning, as 4-month-old Jackson Tucker received his chemotherapy treatment, his mother had one thought in mind — hopefully the treatments will no longer be necessary if a donor is found for her son at Saturday’s donor drive.
Family and friends of the community are coming together Saturday and hosting a donor registry drive from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Nissan of Clinton. Donnie Lamm, president/general manager of the car dealership, is sponsoring the event.
Jackson, who has been a miracle baby since day one, has been diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia that has not been completely identified and the young boy needs a bone marrow transplant to cure him. Saturday’s donor registry drive could potentially save Jackson’s life if a matched marrow donor is found.
Since his diagnosis, Jackson has been receiving a low dose of chemotherapy daily with oral medication. This, his mother Heather Tucker said, allows his white blood cell count to stay at a good level. A transplant, however, is the most definite way to cure Jackson’s cancer.
“It’s important for everyone to come and be checked for a match,” Heather said. “And, if they don’t match Jackson, they could be a match for someone else and help save their life.”
Guidelines for joining the registry are simple. Those wishing to be checked as a match just need to show up Saturday and have their cheek swabbed. Those interested in joining the registry must be between 18-44 years old, or they will have a fee for being checked. There are a few simple health questions.
The entire process, Heather shared, will take about 10 minutes.
“Please show your grace and mercy on what this one day can provide for so many people,” Heather said. “Just 10 minutes can help save a life.”
After doing oral meds at home for some time, Jackson started his chemotherapy this week for four days and then will take a 28-day break.
For Jackson, it’s important for everyone to be checked. Being biracial, his brother Mason was the most likely match, but Heather said he didn’t match. While there are over 14 million volunteer donors in the registry, with other 10 million of those giving to people in the United States, another biracial person is the best candidate for a match for Jackson.
“I am just overwhelmed by the generosity of the community, our church, family and friends,” Heather said. “We believe in the power of prayer and that’s what everyone has done. They have come together in prayer.”
For Jackson, a bone marrow transplant is the only cure. The match has to be a perfect one for Jackson, and that’s why Heather wants as many people as possible to be checked.
“This is important for more than just Jackson,” Heather said. “Maybe you won’t be a match for him, but you may match someone else and you could save their life. This small gesture can save so many lives.”
All donations will be entered into a national database through Be The Match Registry, which is the leader in the field of marrow and cord blood transplantation for people with leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening disease.
For more information, visit www.bethematch4jackson.com or Facebook #TeamJackson.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.