April 07, 2020

Marrow registration drive honors UM student

Individuals in good general health between the ages of 18 and 60 are encouraged to participate in the Nathan Cunningham Bone Marrow Registration Drive from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17, in the Memorial Union’s Coe Room on the campus of the University of Maine in Orono.

The drive is free for students with a university ID, and $52 for all others. A limited amount of funds is available for those unable to pay.

The drive is co-sponsored by the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Eastern Maine Medical Center Healthcare Charities in cooperation with the National Marrow Donor Foundation.

Cunningham and his wife, April, are residents of Orland.

According to information provided by the university, a few months ago the 31-year-old U.S. Navy veteran and UMaine junior was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, or MDS, a disease that affects the production of blood cells.

It is a form of pre-leukemia and requires a marrow transplant.

Fortunately for Cunningham, two perfect matches for him have been found.

In addition to his studies, Cunningham works at the Veterans Affairs Office at the university’s Office of Student Records.

When his co-workers asked what they could do to help the couple through this time, he told them that he has a great support network but that he would appreciate having a bone marrow registration drive to help others in need of a transplant for whom matches have not been found.

If you can participate, you are asked to do so.

If you cannot, but would like to help, you can financially sponsor another who cannot afford to pay for the testing.

Minority groups are particularly encouraged to participate. Qualifying information for potential donors can be obtained at http://www.dfci.org/how


And although registration forms will be available at the site on the day of the drive, you can download them at studentrecords.umaine.edu under “Dates & Deadlines” and bring the form with you to the drive.

Financial contributions can be sent to The Nathan Cunningham Bone Marrow Registration Drive, c/o Tammy Light, University of Maine, Office of Student Records, 5781 Wingate Hall, Orono 04469.

I received an e-mail earlier this spring that I have been waiting to share with you at an appropriate time.

This is that time.

Ironically, the letter is from someone else associated with the University of Maine, associate professor Karen Horton.

She reminded me of a column I wrote about a blood drive planned for July 21, 2001, in which people were also asked to register, for free, with the National Bone Marrow Registry.

The column’s focus was her son Brendan Horton, who would be turning 14 on that day, and who was in need of a bone marrow transplant after relapsing with leukemia.

Brendan is one of the lucky ones; a match was found.

He has now completed his first year at Boston University, studying biochemistry and molecular biology, his mother wrote. This term, he’s studying abroad at the University of Dresden in Germany.

“As a result of his medical history, he is planning a career in drug research,” his mother added. “His health is excellent. His bone marrow donor is from Virginia, and we correspond from time to time.”

Brendan and Nathan are two wonderful reasons why it is so important that those who can make themselves eligible for the National Bone Marrow Registry.

The Marine Environmental Research Institute of Blue Hill invites you to participate in a MERI Watershed Investigators Field Walk from 9:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 14, at Carleton Stream.

The event begins with a brief overview of the Blue Hill Bay watershed by Simone Cromwell, MERI watershed project coordinator, from 9:30 to 10 a.m. at the MERI Center.

Participants will car pool to Carleton Stream where MERI staff and Mark Whiting, a biologist with the state Department of Environmental Protection, will lead participants in an investigation of physical conditions at the stream.

You should bring weather-appropriate clothing, waterproof boots and bottled water.

For more information, contact gwilliams@merireasearch.

org or call 374-2135.

A free 12-hour certified training course by MaineStream Finance, a subsidiary of Penquis Community Action Program, to help potential homebuyers make wise decisions, is 5:30-8:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 16, through Thursday, Oct. 19, at Penquis CAP, 262 Harlow St., Bangor.

Professionals such as lawyers and Realtors help conduct the program, which offers budget, debt management and credit counseling.

Registration is required. Call (800) 215-4942 or 973-3557.

Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; 990-8288.

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