Local teacher organizes bone marrow drive for student - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local teacher organizes bone marrow drive for student

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Every four minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer like Leukemia. For many, their only hope for a cure is a bone marrow transplant.

Caitlin Puckett was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2011. After taking treatments she became cancer free, but it didn't last for long.

"Her cancer has gotten more aggressive, and she won't be able to live without a bone marrow transplant," said Jan Burns, Teacher at Soddy Daisy High School.

Burns and a few other teachers put their heads together and decided to put on a marrow drive, hoping to find a match and add more names to the national registry.

"We had donors who were more than willing to do whatever was needed to save a student's life," said Burns.

 One of those donors was Gavin Clarke.

"Being one of my fellow students knowing she needs bone marrow to live, just made me want to donate even more,  hoping I would be the match and able to save her life," said Clarke. "You may never be called, but at least you'll be on the registry for the future."

12,000 are in need of transplants every year and 6 of those 12,000 die because no match is found.

"I believe there are miracles every day and that's what I'm looking for," said Burns.

And while Burns helps in the search for a match for Caitlin, she's also hoping for a second match to pop up.

"My great-niece, Keley Brooke Roller has Leukemia and as it stands right now, we don't have a match for her," said Burns. "Every day I see students who are laughing and having fun then my mind goes to Keley. It's like the tears don't even being to take away the pain, you just can't get over it."

Burns says she hopes their drive today will save at least one life.

"It's heart rendering to go to the hospital and see some of those patients and the little children and the adults who could have a good quality of life with something as simple as a bone marrow transplant," said Burns.

Anyone between the ages of 18 and 44 and are in good health can be added to the registry, by going to any blood assurance locations.

There will be another bone marrow drive December 14th at Hamilton Place Mall from 10 until 2.

If you'd like to have more information on how you can help, click here.

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