Cale's Cause: Donors turnout to save soldier's life - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Cale's Cause: Donors turnout to save soldier's life

Cale's great aunts with a message from the family. Cale's great aunts with a message from the family.
Cale with a thumbs up from Walter Reed. Cale with a thumbs up from Walter Reed.

GORDON COUNTY, GA. (WRCB) -- It's been nearly a week since Channel 3 introduced you to Private Cale Wooten.

The Gordon Central graduate is at Walter Reed Medical Center battling leukemia, while doctors work to find a bone marrow match to save his life.

This week, Channel 3 put out the call for potential donors. They showed up by the dozens.

For two days, Ann Bradley and Beverly Higgins have stood outside Murray Medical Center with a message.

"Cale Wooten's family says, ‘thank you,'" says Higgins, Cale's great-aunt.

Private Cale Wooten was halfway through basic training, when he was diagnosed with acute myelocytic leukemia.

He needs a bone marrow transplant, but doctors have not found a match.

"The bone marrow is the bottom line," Higgins says. "Because without it we're going to be making knee prints in the cement."

"The community really embraced Cale's story, and they came out in droves," says Dwayne Simmons with Blood Assurance.

Blood Assurance put out the call. People like Johnny Johnson answered.

"Any time you see anyone needing help, you just want to do what you can to help," says Johnson.

Blood Assurance collected 127 units of blood, three times more than they typically collect at this location.

Tuesday, 105 people joined the bone marrow registry alone.

The line to donate extended into the emergency room, forcing the agency to return Thursday.

Dozens showed up hoping to be Cale's match, though chances are slim.

"It's like one in 400,000 or so; however, the more people who get on the registry the better," says Simmons.

The process is painless and takes a few swabs of the mouth.

It will take a few weeks to know if any of this week's donors are a match.

But every swab is a little bit of hope for Cale's two great aunts.

"Please, please donate," Bradley pleads. "Because even if it doesn't help Cale, it might help someone else who is suffering the same."

It will likely be three to four weeks before we know if a match was found.

It's not only Chatsworth residents responding to Cale's story. Donations are up in Dalton and Chattanooga, too.

If you'd like to register to see if you are a match, you can visit any Blood Assurance branch.

Click here for a list of locations.


Click here to learn more about the donations process.

It's not only blood marrow matches that are needed.

According to Blood Assurance, a blood donation can save three lives.

An estimated 400 donations are needed every day in our area.


Private Wooten's mother has set up a Facebook page to document her son's battle. You can leave notes of encouragement here.


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