Bone marrow drive could save a life

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - You can run in a 5K this weekend in Cape Girardeau to do a little good for your health, but also do something significant for someone else's!

Before or after the "Monster Match 5K" you can sign up for the bone marrow registry to help save a life like that of Gabrielle Carter.

Behind her sweet smile, Gabrielle Carter is one tough girl.

The 5 year old has battled Sickle Cell Anemia her entire life.

"She doesn't let it get her down," said her mom, Debbie Carter.

It's a fight that she needs help to win… with a bone marrow transplant. A procedure Debbie Carter says will change Gabby's life.

"If she gets the bone marrow transplant and her body accepts it then she's completely cured of Sickle Cell Anemia," Debbie said.

The Cape Girardeau kindergartner was diagnosed at just 2 and 1/2 months old.

Sickle Cell Anemia causes red blood cells to form abnormally which leads to severely painful episodes called "crises." It can also cause a stroke.

Gabby's had blood transfusions since she was a baby to manage the condition but last year it got worse.

"She had over 90 percent of the sickle cells in her body which means she's going to stroke," Debbie said. "The transfusions trick her body into not producing."

Right now, monthly transfusion manage the condition, but Debbie says it won't last.

"Because her body can't continue this, she can't continue to have the transfusions without it not being as effective," Debbie said. "A bone marrow transplant is a cure for her."

It's something Debbie never expected for her daughter.

"I never thought that there would be a cure," Debbie said. "So this is amazing that medicine will cure and she won't have to go through everything."

No monthly transfusion, daily medications or restrictions caused by the disease in hot and cold temperatures, that keep Gabby from playing like other kids.

"She can go outside in the hot, when it's past 85 degrees and play like normal kids," Debbie said. "Get in the pool or play in the snow. She doesn't get to play in the snow because it's too cold."

Debbie says even if this you aren't the one to help Gabby during Saturday's registry drive, you can still save someone's life.

"I've seen all of these other kids that need it," Debbie said. "You may be the one for them. Maybe not for mine and I'm OK with that…but you might find one for someone else. Somebody's gonna find a match."

The Monster Match 5K will be held Saturday, October 29th, at 8:00 a.m.

You can register at the Osage center starting at 7:00 a.m.

The cost of the run is $30.

You can sign up for the bone marrow registry before or after the race.

If you would like to sign up for the registry, without running, you can do that as well.

Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved.