Alexandria four-year-old Charlotte Conybear suffers from aplastic anemia, a rare and life-threatening condition caused by the failure of her bone marrow to produce enough blood cells. On Saturday, at the annual Alexandria Armenian Festival at Market Square, a bone marrow donor drive was held.
Conybear is currently being treated with medication and receiving transfusions, but may need a bone marrow transplant, and there is no good match in her family nor on the National Bone Marrow Donor Program registry.
To help try to find a match for Charlotte and other children needing bone marrow transfusions we are encouraging as many people as possible to register as bone marrow donors,
said her uncle, Dean Jerrehian.
As bone marrow matches are tied closely to ethnic heritage and Charlotte is part Armenian and knowing how giving the Alexandria community is, we thought the Alexandria Armenian Festival would be an ideal place to hold a donor registration drive. But you certainly dont have to be Armenian to register to be a donor.
Bone marrow donation has a reputation as being painful when the truth is that donation involves no more pain than drawing blood, as stem cells are taken from the bloodstream, Herrehian said. The rest of the time, bone marrow is taken under local or general anesthesia, resulting in just a few days of soreness.
It turns out that this is a really easy way for someone to be a hero and save a life, he said.
For more information on how to donate for Charlotte or others, contact Dean Jerrehian at email@example.com.