In an effort to find my friend Jerome Williams a much-needed donor, Project Africa Global spearheaded another marrow drive, this time at the Crenshaw Christian Center.
The LAPD and LAFD were having a recruitment day and thanks to LAPD Officer Joseph, who became aware of Jerome’s plight during the F.A.M.E. marrow drive, we descended upon a parking field full of young healthy recruits: perfect candidates for donating marrow.
The place was teeming with men in uniform. Most all of them were armed. I figured we were in the safest parking lot in Los Angeles that day. SWAT vans, helicopters, fire trucks, tanks and plenty of police cars also surrounded us. That meant, of course that there was plenty of giggling as we commandeered one vehicle after another.
During the drive I met a few strapping firemen. Captain Johnson let me try on his firefighting clothes. I was completely swallowed up under all the material! Along with the oxygen tank strapped to my back, everything weighed close to 100 lbs! Thinking about wearing all that gear and then running into a burning building… I have so much MORE respect now for what firemen do.
Cliff Okada from Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches stayed until the very end. While other booths had packed up and gone home, Cliff hung around to make sure that he’d be available to every last possible donor. He’s so awesome.
It turned out that many of the policemen and firemen were already signed up on the marrow registry! Yay! Noting his African-American heritage, one officer said, “It’s another way that I can help my community.” Another officer stated, “This is another way that I can help save someone’s life.” These guys are already taking bullets and charging into infernos. They don’t have to do this. But they sign-up anyway, because they know it’s the right thing to do. That’s hot.
The day ended with several more donors added to the registry, but the NMDP remains terribly lacking. For every patient that locates a potential donor, there are four who do not and thus never even get the chance to fight. Every registry counts. There's more than one way to be a Hero.