Aspire

October 13, 2015
 

Airman provides vitality through marrow donation

Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski)
A nurse transfers bone marrow donated from U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Bruce Davis, 527th Space Aggressor Squadron radio frequency transmission supervisor, to a collection bag at Banner-University Medical Center in Tucson, Ariz., July 2015. Davis’ marrow extraction took place at Banner UMC because one of its specialty services includes extensive cancer treatment.

TUCSON, Ariz. — One out of 540 members of the C.W. Bill Young Department of Defense Marrow Donor Program ever proceeds to donate marrow or stem cells. An Airman from Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, had the opportunity to be one of those donors.

The C.W. Bill Young DoD Marrow Donor Program works exclusively with military personnel and their dependents, as well as DoD civilian employees, to facilitate marrow and stem cell donations.

In the early 2000s, Tech. Sgt. Bruce Davis, 527th Space Aggressor Squadron radio frequency transmission supervisor, was stationed at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, when he decided to register to become a potential marrow donor.  It wasn’t until earlier this year that Davis was notified he was a match for a patient in need of a bone marrow transplant.

“I went to the nearest hospital at Peterson AFB, where they drew blood, tested it all and it came back with good results,” Davis said. “The next step was to come back (to Tucson so) they could do more tests. They do a chest X-ray, draw more blood to (perform) a lot more lab work, and then schedule the extraction. It goes pretty quick when they find out you’re a good match.”

After some final testing, Davis was in his hospital bed rolling down the fluorescently lit hallway to the operating room where the marrow extraction was scheduled to take place. Davis was administered an anesthetic, and moments later, he laid on the bed motionless. Doctors worked quickly to insert a breathing tube into his mouth so he could easily breathe while lying on his stomach.

The bone marrow was harvested from Davis’ hips using two needles placed in the left and right sides of his lower back. With the needles serving as taps, the doctors used syringes to extract about 1.5 liters of rich marrow, which is 5 percent or less of the donor’s total marrow cells, and transfer it to a collection bag. After processing, the marrow is transplanted to the recipient within 24 hours.

Davis’ marrow extraction took place at Banner-University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona, because one of its specialty services includes extensive cancer treatment. 

“This hospital was especially cooperative and the staff was great,” Davis said. “They kept me overnight for observation and checked on me to provide a great experience.”

While comparing the marrow donation process to being as simple as attending a dentist appointment, Davis urges anyone who is able, to become a registered potential donor.

“I just thought it was a good thing to do,” Davis said. “Just like donating blood, every time there’s a blood drive on base, you don’t know what your blood is going to be used for or who it’s going to go to. You just know there’s a need. There’s just as much of a need for marrow right now, it’s just less known.”

There are several ways you can register to become a potential bone marrow donor. You can attend walk-in registration sites, hold your own drive or request a kit from the C.W. Bill Young DoD Marrow Donor Program. For more information about becoming a potential donor, visit www.salutetolife.org




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Air National Guard photograph by Staff Sgt. George Keck

Arizona Air National Guard’s first deployment in 31 years

Air National Guard photograph by Staff Sgt. George Keck Staff Sgt. Luke Arandules, a 195th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, Arizona Air National Guard, performs a final inspection for debris around the intake of an F-16 Fi...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Michael X. Beyer

AF spouses learn valuable resiliency skills

Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Michael X. Beyer Military spouses attend a resiliency class at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Sept. 7, 2018. The class focused on providing tools to spouces to help deal with the c...
 
 
Air National Guard photograph by Staff Sgt. George Keck

Arizona Guard deploys to Czech Republic for Ample Strike 2018

Air National Guard photograph by Staff Sgt. George Keck Col. Allen Kinnison, 162nd Operations Group commander, Arizona Air National Guard, completes his pre-flight inspection of an F-16C Fighting Falcon at Namest Air Base, Czec...