Baldwin Heights bone marrow event aims to make a difference

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 10:35 am on Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bridgette Devine, 13, of Sparta, left, and Bree Town, 9, of Greenville, were both diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. A bone marrow drive is being held at Baldwin Heights Elementary School in Greenville on Saturday in their honor. — Courtesy photo

GREENVILLE — Baldwin Heights Elementary School is receiving supplies to possibly help save the lives of not only two young girls in the community, but others like them across the country.

A bone marrow drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the cafeteria in Baldwin Heights Elementary School.

“We are asking people to ‘give a spit’,” said Parent Teacher Organization President Ann Harvey, talking about the easy, one-step procedure to participate in the drive, which basically is having a person’s mouth swabbed.

Bree Town, 9, of Greenville, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). AML is a cancer that attacks the myeloid line of blood and is usually found in adults.

On the same day, Bridgette Devine, 13, of Sparta, was also diagnosed with AML. Both girls have stuck together to help each other through such a difficult time.

Although Town is currently in remission, Devine is on her sixth round of chemotherapy and needs a bone marrow transplant.

“This event is in honor of those two brave little girls,” Harvey said. “It’s painless — you just swab your cheek.”

Gift of Life, an organization designed to test as many volunteers as possible to match them with patients suffering from illness, is donating the supplies for free to the event.

Volunteers will be registered into a national database.

“It’s a commitment,” said Jennifer Town, Bree Town’s mother. “You have to be between the ages of 18 and 60 and in overall good health.”

Jennifer Town said this event is important because it helps those in need looking for transplants.

“Someone could save a life,” she said.

Volunteers are also needed to help run the event. Call Baldwin Heights Elementary School at (616) 754-3643.

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