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.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Avalanche sweeps down Everest, killing at least 12

    Avalanche sweeps down Everest, killing at least 12

    Friday, April 18 2014 9:11 AM EDT2014-04-18 13:11:28 GMT
    An avalanche swept the slopes of Mount Everest on Friday along a route used to ascend the world's highest peak, killing at least six Nepalese guides and leaving nine more missing, officials said.
    An avalanche swept down a climbing route on Mount Everest early Friday, killing at least 12 Nepalese guides and leaving three missing in the deadliest disaster on the world's highest peak.
  • Ukraine insurgents reject call to quit buildings

    Ukraine insurgents reject call to quit buildings

    Friday, April 18 2014 9:11 AM EDT2014-04-18 13:11:21 GMT
    Pro-Russian militiamen who control government buildings in eastern Ukraine are showing no sign of relenting despite a deal between Moscow and Kiev.
    Dashing hopes of progress raised by a diplomatic deal in Geneva, pro-Russian insurgents who have occupied government buildings in more than 10 Ukrainian cities said Friday they will not leave them until the country's...
  • Doomed ferry's sharp turn, slow evacuation probed

    Doomed ferry's sharp turn, slow evacuation probed

    Friday, April 18 2014 9:01 AM EDT2014-04-18 13:01:33 GMT
    Rescuers scrambled to find hundreds of ferry passengers still missing Friday and feared dead, as fresh questions emerged about whether quicker action by the captain of the doomed ship could have saved lives.
    The investigation into South Korea's ferry disaster focused on the sharp turn it took just before it began listing and on the possibility that a quicker evacuation order by the captain could have saved lives, officials...
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
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.