July 19, 2012

Station comes together for bone marrow registry

Lance Cpl. Sean Dennison and Cpl. Jolene Bopp
Desert Warrior Staff

Gunnery Sgt. David Earl, left, a Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 13 ground support equipment assistant staff noncommissioned officer and a native of Littletown, Penn.and Flight Lt. Nick Geary of the Royal Air Force take swabs with the hopes of being a potential bone marrow donor for Gunnery Sgt. Shane Lamont, a a Marine Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 low altitude air defense gunner, during a bone marrow donor registry at MCAS Yuma’s post exchange, July 13. Lamont was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in May 2012

The air station hosted a bone marrow donor registry at the Marine Corps exchange to help one of its own Marines, July 13.

Gunnery Sgt. Shane Lamont, a Marine Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 low altitude air defense gunner, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in May 2012.

The donor registry saw hundreds of Marines, some of whom had no personal affiliation with Lamont, taking swabs of saliva as prospective donors.

“We are trying to increase the number of potential donors in the National Registry. The more people in the registry, the better the chance of finding a match for Lamont, and others who are waiting on the list,” said Sandra Rookey, the MAWTS-1 family readiness officer, during an interview with local paper, The Yuma Sun. “We are trying to do everything we can do to get our Marine healthy again.”

“After the birth of his daughter, he saw the flight surgeon, who determined he actually had leukemia,” Rookey added. “He was quickly transferred to San Diego to begin chemotherapy. The leukemia is a very aggressive cancer of the blood and bone marrow, and it progresses very quickly, so he needed to begin treatment right away.”

Lamont’s case is particularly tough to combat due to a mutational condition called FLT3, which makes his Leukemia more resistant to treatment.

Regardless, Marines and civilians were willing to swab up.

“It’s a chance to help people,” said Gunnery Sgt. David Earl, a Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 13 ground support equipment assistant staff noncommissioned officer and a native of Littletown, Penn.

Like others there, Earl did not know who Lamont was but showed up anyway by merit of Lamont being a Marine in need of assistance from his brothers and sisters.

“It shows we’re willing to help strangers,” added Earl.

The drive saw 882 donors.

The first successful bone marrow transplant was performed in 1968, according to the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, and despite symptoms including high fever dizziness and diarrhea, the Marines were unfazed by their prospective results.

Every Marine, when asked if they were scared of being a possible donor, gave an unhesitant “No” as their answer.

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