TRENTON, NJ -- This weekend individuals who want to join the fight against life-threatening blood cancers and other blood illnesses can get onto the field at a Be The Match event held in conjunction with The Trenton Thunder and the Icla da Silva Foundation. A donor event like this can save the life of children, including one young New Jersey girl.
Jackie Erb, a five-year-old who lives in Summit, is fighting juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML,) a rare blood cancer that affects young children. A marrow transplant offers her a chance at a cure. Since doctors diagnosed Jackie in December, more than 1,000 people have registered for Be The Match in New Jersey and Connecticut, where Jackie has family, in hopes of being a donor.
“With (JMML), chemotherapy doesn’t seem to work so the bone marrow transplant is the only option for her,” said Christopher Erb, Jackie’s uncle and a doctor with Yale New Haven Health. In January, doctors diagnosed Jackie’s twin sister, Addison, with JMML.
Typically, one out of every 430 people who register with Be The Match are called for further testing because they matched with a patient in need of a marrow transplant.
"The Trenton Thunder are honored to partner with Be The Match and The Icla da Silva Foundation for their Swab to Save Lives Event,” said Jon Bodnar, Vice President of Ticket Sales at The Trenton Thunder. “Supporting the Trenton community and the surrounding areas has always been a top priority and this event takes it to the next level. We encourage our community to come out to the ballpark on February 20-21 to register to help save a life."
Representatives and volunteers with Be The Match will hold a two-day drive-through, socially distant swabbing event from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both Saturday, February 20 and Sunday, February 21. Attendees who are 18-44 will be registered with the Be The Match Registry and given swabs for their inner cheeks.
Individuals who cannot get to the event at The Trenton Thunder can register Be The Match online and order a swab kit sent to them HERE or text TrentonThunder (all one word) to 61474.
Since 1987, the nonprofit Be The Match has helped facilitate more than 100,000 marrow and cord blood transplants. The Icla da Silva Foundation is the largest donor recruitment center for the Be The Match Registry in the United States, adding more than 38,000 new potential marrow donors to the Be The Match Registry every year.