Anchorage Group Hosting Bone Marrow Registry Drives

A group of friends in Anchorage is hosting a series of bone marrow registry drives for a local doctor who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Lukemia in March.

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Matt Dudley is a family practice doctor who cares for patients at Anchorage hospitals. Jocelyn Pemberton is a colleague of Dudley’s and is helping organize the drives. She says it was a shock when Dudley was diagnosed.

“He’s mid 30’s. He’s very athletic, you know healthy guy, two young kids, young family and just out of nowhere gets this diagnosis,” Pemberton said.

Dudley needs a bone marrow transplant. He has two brothers who were tested, but aren’t viable matches. So Pemberton is hoping to convince Anchorage residents to sign up to be bone marrow donors. People between the ages of 18 and 44 can register by filling out a questionnaire and offering a few cheek swab samples. Most of the time, the bone marrow donor doesn’t have to go through surgery to donate.

Pemberton says many people she talks to about the drives are already organ donors, but bone marrow donation is different.

“Bone marrow is something you can give while you’re alive. I think people are kind of scared about it, because people have heard of the surgical process. But the reality is that you know, it’s a pretty simple thing that you can do to save someone’s life,” Pemberton said.

Dudley is hoping to find a match in time to have a bone marrow transplant in June or July.

The first bone marrow donation drive is at both the downtown and Dimond Skinny Raven locations this Wednesday and Thursday from 3-7pm. The events are timed to coincide with bib pickup for the Skinny Raven Twilight runs. Several other drives are scheduled throughout June.

Bone Marrow Registry Drives:
May 29th, 30th 3-7pm
Skinny Raven, downtown and Diamond locations
June 6th 3-7pm
St. Elias Specialty Hospital
June 10th 2-9pm
Providence Hospital
June 17th 2-9pm.
Regional Hospital
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Annie Feidt is the Managing Editor for Alaska's Energy Desk, a collaboration between Alaska Public Media in Anchorage, KTOO Public Media in Juneau and KUCB in Unalaska. Her reporting has taken her searching for polar bears on the Chukchi Sea ice, out to remote checkpoints on the Iditarod Trail, and up on the Eklutna Glacier with scientists studying its retreat. Her stories have been heard nationally on NPR and Marketplace. Annie’s career in radio journalism began in 1998 at Minnesota Public Radio, where she produced the regional edition of All Things Considered. She moved to Anchorage in 2004 with her husband, intending to stay in the 49th state just a few years. She has no plans to leave anytime soon. afeidt (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8443 | About Annie