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Bone marrow donation to save a life

October 31, 2010

By Christelle Vereb, Staff Writer

Martin Pelfrey is donating some of his bone marrow to someone he has never met in order to save a life. Photo by Skye Butler

Martin Pelfrey, a former business major of Young Harris College, will be giving a bone marrow transplant in the coming weeks.

A former student of YHC, Pelfrey hasn’t strayed far from his academic roots, as he now works at the grill station in the campus restaurant.

Along with his roles at YHC, Pelfrey said, “I am also a member of the National Guard, and my unit and I were doing drills; and people were being asked to sign up to become bone marrow donors. A few friends and I decided to sign up, and two weeks later I received a call telling me that I was a match for someone in need,” said Pelfrey.

Though the chance of being matched is rare, a call came to Pelfrey while he was still in training for the National Guard,

“I was very surprised to have been a match, but I feel excited and  honored to have the opportunity to help someone in need. This also shows me what my youth pastor told me, ‘God has a plan for my life,’” Pelfrey said.

This medical procedure is confidential, allowing Pelfrey to know only that his marrow will go to a 49 year old male.

In order to begin the process Pelfrey has had to give blood almost every other week.

“In the past few weeks I have given about 14 test tubes filled with blood,” Pelfrey said.

At some point, between October 23 and October 29, Pelfrey will be flown to Washington DC, all expenses paid to undergo the procedure.

“Once I arrive, I know I have many tests that have to be performed on me so that they can be sure that I am a match for the recipient,” said Pelfrey.

According to the Columbia Presbyterian medical center “bone marrow transplants  have been used to treat patients diagnosed with leukemia, aplastic anemia, lymphomas such as Hodgkin’s disease, multiple myeloma, immune deficiency disorders and some solid tumors such as breast and ovarian cancer.”

There are different types of marrow transplants and Pelfrey will be following the stem cell procedure.

“If there is anything I know in life, it’s that people should help one another. So, if you have the chance to help someone, don’t pass it up,” Pelfrey said.


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