Face of Defense: Sailor to Meet Bone Marrow Donation’s Recipient
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 2, 2008 When he’s in Cincinnati tomorrow to receive an award from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, a senior enlisted sailor will meet the girl whose life he saved with a bone marrow donation.
Navy Chief Petty Officer Willie H. Corey, a submarine fire control technician, will be recognized for his participation in the National Marrow Donor Program.
Corey, a native of Newport News, Va., has been a donor on the NMDP’s registry since fall 2006.
"When I found out that the potential recipient was a little girl, it was a no-brainer to donate; I have a daughter myself," Corey said. "The NMDP really respects the privacy of the recipient. They wouldn't tell me her name, but they told me her age. If both parties agree, identities are exchanged after 12 months."
For a successful transplant, the tissue type of a bone marrow donor or a cord blood unit needs to match the patient's as closely as possible. The closer the match, the better it is for the patient.
The NMDP is a nonprofit organization that facilitates marrow and cord blood transplants between unrelated people as a single point of access. It connects doctors, donors and researchers to the resources they need to help more people live longer and healthier lives. A collaborative network of leading national and international medical facilities is involved in the marrow and cord blood transplantation process.
"Every day we have 6,000 men, women and children worldwide that search the NMDP registry for a life-saving match. These patients have leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening diseases," Kristen Spargo, NMDP spokeswoman, said.
Earlier this year Corey and the bone marrow recipient were introduced over the phone. "I talked to her and her aunt. They sent me before and after photos from the operation. The positive changes in her were incredible."
(From a Naval Sea Systems Command news release.)