Legislators, advocates help raise awareness for bone marrow donor need

HARRISBURG, Nov. 19 – Inspired by a Pennsylvania teen who is in need of a bone marrow transplant, state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, hosted a news conference to bring attention to the crucial need of bone marrow donors, especially people of color.  

Kinsey was joined by Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Phila.; Rep. Carol Hill-Evans; Sarah Speed, a cancer mom; and Michael Garbin from Be the Match. The news conference was held in honor of Juwan Adams, a senior at Abington Senior High School who has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and who is currently waiting for a donor match.

“At a 23% match rate currently, there is a crucial need for bone marrow donors among African Americans,” Kinsey said. “Juwan’s story is one of several that must be heard. Many of our young people are battling life changing diseases and require so much more than basic medical care. It’s important that everyone looks into being a donor if their health permits them, so they can be a hero for those who need and await lifesaving procedures.”

Farnese said, “My father suffered from cancer and was the recipient of a bone marrow transplant, so I know how important these lifesaving registrations are. I hope that today’s event brings awareness about how easy it is to register and encourages my colleagues in Harrisburg and my constituents back home to sign up online.”

Representatives from Be the Match, the National Marrow Donor Program, were at the state Capitol registering donors throughout the day.

“We are seeing the greatest need for bone marrow donors for similar ethnicities, particularly African-Americans who have the lowest match rate,” said Michael Garbin, senior community engagement representative. “I would like to thank Representative Kinsey and Senator Farnese for their advocacy and sharing their stories to bring awareness to this never-ending need for donors.”

You can learn more about Be the Match here.