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Carew Plea for Donors Draws 600 Volunteers

November 13, 1995|DAVAN MAHARAJ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

COSTA MESA — Responding to a plea by former baseball star Rod Carew, about 600 people turned out at Planet Hollywood here Sunday to see whether their bone marrow matches the rare type belonging to the Hall of Famer's ailing daughter.

Carew, several Angels players and other celebrities were present at the South Coast restaurant to greet the potential bone marrow donors.

The volunteers allowed nurses to take about two tablespoons of blood, which will be tested to determine the donors' bone marrow type.

Carew will learn in about two weeks whether any of the volunteers' bone marrow is compatible with that of his 17-year-old daughter Michelle, who is presently hospitalized at Children's Hospital of Orange County in Orange.

Last week, Carew made an emotional appeal for donors to come forward to aid his daughter and other cancer patients.

In September, Michelle Carew was found to have a potentially fatal form of leukemia that is usually treated by a transplant of bone marrow, which produces the white blood cells that help combat diseases.

More than 1.8 million donors are listed in the National Marrow Donor Program, but none match the type needed by Michelle, whose father is black and mother is white. Bone marrow donors are usually of the same race as recipients. Fewer than 5% of the donors listed on the national registry are black.

Andrea Pronk, a spokeswoman for Children's Hospital, said about 40% of the potential donors who showed up at the restaurant Sunday were members of minority groups.

"We were pleased at the turnout," Pronk said. "It means that a recipient's chances of survival may have increased. Some people who came forward may have made a lifesaving decision for others."

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