Priest With Leukemia Starts Bone Marrow Drive

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A local priest suffering from leukemia is asking the community to come forward to help save lives of people fighting cancer.

Monique Griego has more on the drive.

In 2006, Monsignor Arthur Valenzano from the Baltimore Basilica was diagnosed with leukemia. After undergoing a bone marrow transplant, his cancer went into remission for three years but recently started coming back.

“We did a couple chemo regimens and clinical trials but now it’s been decided I need another bone marrow transplant,” Valenzano said.

He feels lucky to have his brother as a partial match but his struggle to find a better match in the national registry showed him how great the need for donors is.

Every year on average, around 10,000 people are diagnosed with blood cancers like leukemia. Seventy percent of them will not have a suitable bone marrow match in their family.

“There’s a lot of people out there who are suffering from cancers that a bone marrow transplant could be a lifesaving experience,” he said.

This weekend, Valenzano will be holding a bone marrow drive at Saint Mary’s Seminary in Roland Park. There, people can do a simple swab test to be added to the national registry of possible donors.

“You run out of options and it’s just nice to know that there’s somebody out there who cares enough to do this for a complete stranger,” he said.

Although Valenzano still has his own battle to face, he’s keeping his faith close and plans to keep fighting cancer head on.

The bone marrow drive will be held Saturday at St. Mary’s from 10 to 2. Anyone from 18 to 44 who’s in good health can be added to the registry. If you are found to be a match for a transplant patient, you will be contacted about becoming a donor.

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