Congressman Young leaves bone marrow legacy - WFLA News Channel 8

Congressman Young leaves bone marrow legacy

Posted: Updated:
A potential donor talks to BeTheMatch representative A potential donor talks to BeTheMatch representative
ST PETERSBURG, FL -

Clearwater mother Jessica Acosta says her young son is alive thanks to a program created by Congressman Bill Young nearly three decades ago.

Doctors diagnosed her 16-month-old son Ryan with a rare form of cancer called Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia. They placed him on the National Bone Marrow Registry and a month later they found a match.

"I can't wait until the day we can meet his donor. It's like he's part of our family and he doesn't know it," Acosta explained.

Congressman Young pushed for a registry to be created in 1986 after a visit to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg.

Related: Planning underway for Rep. Young's funeral

"He was visiting a family member in the hospital and he saw a young patient die, who they had become friends with, and he didn't want anyone else to have to go through that," explained Marc Silver with Be the Match.

Young talked about the success of the National Marrow Donor Program last year on a video created about All Children's history.

"At one point we were told, you're wasting your time. You'd be lucky to get 50,000 people willing to donate bone marrow. Well we have over 10 million in our registry today," Young explained on the video.

All Children's Senior Vice President Bill Horton says the ability to find a donor is a critical issue for many of their patients.

"He's directly responsible for having contributed to saving many lives," Horton explained. "We're the largest transplant program in the state of Florida and we've performed over 600 since the programs inception."

Be the Match hosted a free registry event Tuesday at Southeastern College. The organization regularly holds fundraisers to cover the $100 fee it costs each person to join the registry.

Potential donors are asked to fill out an application and give a tissue sample by swabbing their cheek with cotton.

"It's kind of amazing to know that just swabbing your cheek could make you potentially save someone's life," Acosta said.

Silver said donors are asked to keep their contact information updated through the registry, in case they are matched with someone in need.

"There are over 55,000 people who have had unrelated transplants thanks to Congressman Young. If he didn't go out and do what he did, 55,000 people would have had no chance," said Silver.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Pinellas homeowner ends up the loser after local government mistake on property taxes

    Pinellas homeowner ends up the loser after local government mistake on property taxes

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:59 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:59:58 GMT
    This Preservation land is at heart of homeowner tax dispute in PinellasThis Preservation land is at heart of homeowner tax dispute in Pinellas
    Melanie and Jeffrey Cornwell should have been getting a tax break for years on part of the homestead property in Dunedin they call their "little piece of Heaven." But due to a mistake at the Pinellas Property Appraiser's Office, they won't see any rebates for previous taxes, just a break on future tax bills.
    Melanie and Jeffrey Cornwell should have been getting a tax break for years on part of the homestead property in Dunedin they call their "little piece of Heaven." But due to a mistake at the Pinellas Property Appraiser's Office, they won't see any rebates for previous taxes, just a break on future tax bills.
  • RECALL: Fruit at Trader Joe's & Costco

    RECALL: Fruit at Trader Joe's & Costco

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:45 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:45:14 GMT
    A Central California company has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of specific lots of its fresh peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots over concerns of possible listeria contamination.
    A Central California company has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of specific lots of its fresh peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots over concerns of possible listeria contamination.
  • How thieves clone your credit cards

    How thieves clone your credit cards

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 9:15 AM EDT2014-07-22 13:15:02 GMT
    File photoFile photo
    Patricia Stack didn't know her debit card number had been stolen until she tried to withdraw money from her bank account. "A couple weeks ago I tried to get money out to pay my power bill and there was nothing in it."
    Patricia Stack didn't know her debit card number had been stolen until she tried to withdraw money from her bank account. "A couple weeks ago I tried to get money out to pay my power bill and there was nothing in it."
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 'Extraordinary' little boy finishes triathlon with his disabled brother

    'Extraordinary' little boy finishes triathlon with his disabled brother

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:52 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:52:34 GMT
    (Photo: Courtesy Today.com via Aldrich Family)(Photo: Courtesy Today.com via Aldrich Family)
    Never underestimate the power of brotherly love. Eight-year-old Noah Aldrich didn’t want his 6-year-old sibling Lucas — who is confined to a wheelchair — to miss out on a youth triathlon this month.
    Never underestimate the power of brotherly love. Eight-year-old Noah Aldrich didn’t want his 6-year-old sibling Lucas — who is confined to a wheelchair — to miss out on a youth triathlon this month.
  • 'Faces of Meth' program launched by Sheriff's office

    'Faces of Meth' program launched by Sheriff's office

    Monday, July 21 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-07-21 22:37:35 GMT
    'Faces of Meth' is a project of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
    'Faces of Meth' is a project of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Couple arrested for having sex on Cortez Beach in front of beachgoers

    Couple arrested for having sex on Cortez Beach in front of beachgoers

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:08 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:08:35 GMT
    Bradenton Beach police officers were dispatched to Cortez Beach after a few people called 911 and complained about a couple having sex publicly, right next to a little girl on the beach.
    Bradenton Beach police officers were dispatched to Cortez Beach after a few people called 911 and complained about a couple having sex publicly, right next to a little girl on the beach.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.