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Call for Marrow Donors Draws 300

Organizers extend the campaign to find a match for a leukemia patient from Ventura.

May 25, 2004|Lynne Barnes | Times Staff Writer

A weekend bone marrow drive for a 22-year-old Ventura man drew more than 300 people, prompting organizers to extend the campaign through the week.

"It's been such an outpouring of love," said Joan Dodge, mother of David Dodge, who learned in January that his childhood leukemia had recurred.

A total of 353 people were added to the national bone marrow registry on Saturday, and an additional 230 have made appointments to be tested this week, said Patty Hunt, a spokeswoman for United Blood Services in Ventura. United Blood Services ran the drive, held at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura.

A spokeswoman for City of Hope Cancer Center, which coordinates the bone marrow registry program locally, said the event may have been the largest drive in its history.

"The biggest one I've ever seen was 300 people [two years ago in San Juan Capistrano], and I thought that was a lot," said Yvette Hernandez.

"When I arrived at the hospital Saturday, you couldn't even get on the elevator," she said. "There was a great turnout."

Daphne Tam, another City of Hope spokeswoman, said the average marrow drive attracts about 50 people.

"That gives you an idea of how much of an impact this drive made," she said.

Joan Dodge and her husband Robert, a Ventura physician, circulated among the attendees Saturday, catching up with friends and thanking participants.

"It was so overwhelming, such a gift of energy," Joan Dodge said. "Even now, it just keeps radiating."

Kate Larsen, who organized the drive and whose son died of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, noted in an e-mail Monday that "it took a village" to pull it off, and thanked everyone for their support.

"It will take about four weeks for the results to be ready for David," she wrote. "We are all hoping to be the one who can give this lifesaving donation. But the spirit with which our community came together has given us all a gift."

To make an appointment to be tested for the marrow registry or to donate blood, call United Blood Services at 654-8104.

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