Bone marrow donor drive held in Green Bay for teen who needs a match

Published: Dec. 15, 2019 at 8:52 PM CST
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More than 10,000 people couldn't find a match for a bone marrow transplant last year. The family of one Wisconsin teenager in desperate need of a match decided to host their own donor drive during Sunday's Packers game.

Nick Parins, who lives in Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin, has T-Cell Lymphoma and needs a bone marrow transplant, but currently there is no match for him.

“It’s very frustrating for us, his family and friends, that there’s so many people out there and so many people in the bank right now but there’s just not the match for him,” said Erick St. Aubin, Nick’s cousin.

On the same day Nick turned 18, Eric St. Aubin and other family and friends gathered just outside Lambeau Field to host a bone marrow donor drive in his honor.

“Right after kickoff today we facetimed with him to sing him happy birthday and it was pretty emotional,” said St. Aubin.

The family partnered with “Be The Match” to set up the registration booth. People interested in putting themselves on the global donor registry only needed to provide some basic information and take a cheek swab test.

“It’s not saying you’re signing up today and you’re going to donate tomorrow. That’s really far from the truth,” said Be The Match Community Engagement Specialist. “The reality is it’s pretty rare to become a match and if you are it’s a very special thing.”

Klingberg says there aren’t enough people on the registry to help all the patients who need bone marrow transplants.

“This is their last hope. So it’s really frustrating when you hear people ‘Oh, it’s really painful’ or ‘It requires a lot of time’ or whatever,” said Klingberg.

Klingberg says if you are a match, the donation process isn’t actually all that painful, and it saves a life.

“When somebody comes through and honors that commitment to donate some stem cells, that’s all it took, and then this person is coming out of the hospital and going to overcome their disease,” said Klingberg. “It’s amazing and it gives me goosebumps every time.”

St. Aubin hopes the event will spread awareness and possibly lead to a life saved.

“You could be a match [with someone] across the world, or you might be a match for Nick.”

To register as a bone marrow donor, or for more information