Buffalo, NY - Thousands of people need bone marrow transplants each year, but only 30-percent will find matches within their family. "Be The Match" is one of the largest donor registries in the world, and Tuesday volunteers signed up at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
Skyla Dennis, 8, from Appleton received a bone marrow transplant just eleven days ago. Skyla is a giggly girl who loves her stuffed animals. She brought them to Roswell with her so she could be surrounded by them as she recovers from her life-saving bone marrow transplant.
It was just a few months ago that Skyla got sick, and her mom didn't know what was wrong.
"She only had a fever, blurry vision. It was very scary," says Beth Dennis.
Doctors diagnosed Skyla with acute myeloid leukemia. A search for a bone marrow match began and was successful. Even one of Skyla's friends volunteered to help.
"I think she said it's worth saving my best friend's life," says Skyla.
You can become part of a nationwide bone marrow donor database by swabbing the inside of your mouth. Tuesday, Roswell held a donor drive, and dozens of people showed up including the Mrowinskis.
Matt Mrowinski's dad needs a match.
"There's many people world-wide that are donors, so it's time to join the list and see what I can do to join somebody else's parents or grandparents," says Matt.
"It doesn't really matter who it is just so long as I can help somebody out even if I can't help him. If I can help somebody else, and I can expand their life, then that's well worth it to me," says Matt's wife, Lisa.
If you are a match, you will be contacted and doctors will make sure you are healthy enough to donate.
One of Skyla's doctors is happy with her progress and thinks her future's bright.
"Our hope is that she will grow up to be a healthy adult and live a normal life. So far, she's doing great. She's a tough kid," says Dr. Martin Brecher.
Skyla's mom couldn't agree more.
"She's gotten knocked down a couple of times, but even then when while she was knocked down, she still had a smile on her face," says Dennis.
Donors must be between the ages of 18 and 44 and should not have any history of cancer, diabetes or heart problems. To join the registry, call 1-800-MARROW-2 OR visit bethematch.org.