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Tuesday, August 11, 2009 - CECH to Host Bone Marrow Donor Drive August 18 and 19

6-YEAR-OLD KAREEM RHIMAN AMONG RECIPIENTS IN NEED OF DONATION

Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Broward Health Chris Evert Children’s Hospital (CECH) will host the Icla Da Silva Foundation, a nonprofit bone marrow recruitment organization, at a bone marrow donor drive on Tuesday, August 18 and Wednesday, August 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day. The drive will be held in lobby of the CECH new pediatric hematology/oncology center. Potential donors must be at least 18 years old and do not need an appointment for next week’s drive.

Every day in the United States it is estimated that 6,000 people need bone marrow transplants to help treat diseases like leukemia and sickle cell disease. Among those is a Kareem Rhiman, a six-year-old leukemia patient at CECH.

“When a patient needs a bone marrow transplant their family is usually evaluated first,” said Bernadette Brunetti, LSCW, CECH pediatric hematology/oncology clinic. “But for 70 percent of patients in need, including Kareem, there isn’t a match in the family. That is where drives like this and National Bone Marrow Registry come into play. It is a lifesaving effort.”

Only five percent of the population is registered to donate bone marrow, which is different than being registered as an organ donation. The greatest need is among racial and ethnic minorities.

At the drive potential donors will have their mouths swabbed, allowing the Foundation to test the tissue and enter the type into the National Bone Marrow Registry. Once registered, donors remain in the Registry until they are 60 years old. If they are ever a perfect match for a patient in need, they will be contacted by the Registry.

The mission of the Icla da Silva Foundation is to save lives by recruiting bone marrow donors and by providing support services to children and adults with leukemia and other diseases treatable by marrow transplants. The Foundation was established in June 1992 after the death of Icla da Silva, a thirteen-year-old Brazilian girl who had leukemia. She died after intense efforts by her family, friends and neighbors to find a matching donor

Broward Health, providing service for more than 50 years, is a nationally recognized system offering world-class health care services to our neighbors in South Florida. One of the 10 largest public health systems in the nation, Broward Health includes Broward General Medical Center, North Broward Medical Center, Imperial Point Medical Center, Coral Springs Medical Center, Chris Evert Children’s Hospital, Broward Health Weston and more than 30 facilities of the Community Health Services and Broward Health Physician Group. For more information visit www.BrowardHealth.org.