Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
News Conference with Greg Hachey on Bone Marrow Donations
July 8, 2004
Good afternoon. Thank you all for coming today.
I want to thank Mark, Cora, Chris and Greg Hachey for joining me today. I also want to thank Zeena Smith, rare donor recruitment representative for the Puget Sound Blood Center, for attending as well.
I want to start by saying what an honor it has been for me to meet the Hachey family. Mark and Cora are both very giving people, who as nurses, have dedicated themselves to helping others. Now they need our help for their son, Greg.
Greg is a shining example of someone who hasnít let his leukemia affect his spirit. He is a fighter!! And I am confident that he will keep fighting until he beats his leukemia.
Mark and Cora have shown incredible dedication and optimism helping Greg with his illness. Thanks for letting me get to know your special family.
I am grateful to have this opportunity to appeal to the people of the state of Washington to participate in bone marrow registration programs. Greg needs a bone marrow transplant to help him fight his leukemia.
And the only way he can receive a transplant is by finding a tissue-matched donor.
Many others are in similar situations. Each year, more than 30,000 people are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases for which a marrow or blood stem cell transplant may offer the only chance for a cure.
Because tissue type varies by ethnicity, Greg will most likely need a donor who, like himself, has one parent who is Caucasian and the other Filipino, or a full-blooded Filipino. Those of other Asian Pacific Island ethnicities may also be a donor match.
There are currently more than 5 million names in the national registry but only 305,000, or 6 percent, of those are Asian Pacific Islanders. Less than 2 percent, or 95,000 are multiracial. And out of those 305,000, only 5 percent are Filipinos. In other words, of the 5 million names, only three tenths of one percent are Filipinos, or about 15,000.
And this is where we need the publicís help. There is a tremendous need for people to sign up with the bone marrow registry. Especially individuals of Asian descent, and most significantly, those of mixed-race backgrounds.
Your donation could save Gregís life, or the life of someone else in need. Please give just a small blood sample so you can be included on the national registry.
In order to facilitate donations among state workers, I issued an executive order in 2002 allowing state employees to take paid leave to participate in life-giving procedures like bone marrow typing and donations. I encourage all businesses to provide their employees with similar opportunities.
Let me share my own experience with blood donation. I am a regular blood donor, and have been since I was a teenager. I have also been on the bone-marrow registry for about 15 years. Last September, I received a call from the Puget Sound Blood Center that the antigens in my blood matched those of a person about to receive a heart transplant. He or She neded my blood to ensure a successful transplant. I was humbled to have the opportunity to give blood to this person going through a life-saving procedure. The feeling you get from helping someone facing a desperate situation is indescribable.
Please invest a little of your time to make a tremendous difference in someoneís life Ė someone like Greg.
Now Iíd like to invite Zeena Smith, rare donor recruitment representative from the Puget Sound Blood Center, to talk more about the need for donors, getting on the registry, and the process of donating marrow.
[Invite Zeena to podium]
Please help out by having your bone marrow typed as soon as possible. You may never be called upon to donate, but if you are, you can save a life. Individuals who are interested in joining the National Marrow Donor Program Registry can contact the Puget Sound Blood Center at 1-800-DONATE1, ext 1897. The next scheduled state agency marrow registry drive is August 26 at the Department of Social and Health Services.
Thank you for taking the time to help Greg and many others who need your help. We will now take your questions.