An Independence church is holding a bone marrow donor drive on Saturday, March1, to honor a church member who has fought cancer and to help others who will someday need a transplant.

It’s from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Walnut Gardens Community of Christ, 19201 E. R.D. Mize Road in southeast Independence.

The drive honors Joan Brown, 62, who has lived in Independence for 40 years. She was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on Nov. 15, 2013. While a bone marrow match was found for Joan, her cancer did not go into remission. The mother of three and grandmother of six decided, with support of her husband and family, to stop all forms of treatment.

The first step toward helping cancer patients like Brown is to register as a donor. This marrow drive is a quest to find suitable donors for patients in need of bone marrow/stem cell transplant. Be The Match Registry has over 10 million potential donors on its list, but still does not have matched marrow donors or umbilical cord blood units for all patients, especially those with racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds.

Donors must: • Be age 18 to 44 • Be in general good health • Be willing to donate to anyone they should match • Fill out a brief health history questionnaire

The process involves eligible potential donors taking a cheek swab to be tested.

A marrow/stem cell transplant is a life-saving treatment for people with aplastic anemia, leukemia and many other blood related diseases. For the procedure to be successful, the patient needs a donor who is a genetic match, but 70 percent of the time, patient’s family members will not be a match. That’s why donor registries are important.

To learn more about the need for marrow/stem cell donors, visit, or call 1-800-marrow 2. Potential donors ages 45 – 60 are required to go on-line to registry at For more information on the local drive, visit

– From information submitted to The Examiner