BloodCenter of Wisconsin and Milwaukee Irish Fest are seeking the help of the Milwaukee-area Irish-American community in finding a bone marrow match for a local 6-year-old boy Jake Larkin, of Milwaukee.
The organizations will host the Match Jake Marrow Drive from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, in the cultural pavilion at Milwaukee Irish Fest. The cultural pavilion is located on the south end of the Henry W. Maier Festival Park (Summerfest grounds), 200 N. Lakeshore Dr., Milwaukee.
The purpose of the drive is to find a marrow match for Jake so that he can receive a life-saving marrow transplant.
This past February Jake was diagnosed with severe Aplastic Anemia, a rare condition that prevents his bone marrow from producing enough blood cells. Only about three in one million people are diagnosed with the rare disease in the U.S annually. The only cure is a bone marrow transplant.
Jake and his family have since moved from California to Wisconsin so that he could receive treatment from Dr. David Margolis, a doctor at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and a leading expert in blood and marrow transplants. And now his family is asking for help from the Milwaukee-area Irish-American community to find a bone marrow match for Jake.
Marrow transplants have the highest success rate when the donor has a similar ethnic background. Given the Larkin family’s Irish ancestry, the hope is that a marrow match can be found among Milwaukee’s Irish-American community. To learn more about Jake’s story, visit www.matchjake.org.
Two additional blood and marrow drives will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 9 and Friday, Aug. 17 on the second floor in the space formerly occupied by Old Navy at the Shops of Grand Avenue, 275 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee.
As a special thank you, all attempting donors at the Grand Avenue Mall drives will receive an admission ticket to Milwaukee Irish Fest, Aug. 16-19. The ticket can be used at any time, on any day throughout the festival.
To make an appointment for any of the drives, call 1-877-BE-A-HERO (1-877-232-4376) or (414) 937-6199 or visit www.bcw.edu/jake.
Anyone 18- to 60-years-old and in relatively good health can join the marrow registry. For questions about donor eligibility, contact BloodCenter of Wisconsin at (414) 937-6388 or 1-866-702-HOPE (866-702-4673) or visit www.bethematch.com.