High school seniors hold marrow drive for prom queen battling leukemia

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on May 31, 2014 at 9:19 PM

DALLAS -- Seniors at W.T. White High School are rallying around a fellow graduating senior battling leukemia.

Susy Olvera accidentally discovered she had cancer after cutting her finger in a biology class two months ago. When the nurse couldn’t stop the bleeding, Olvera was sent the hospital. A routine blood test confirmed leukemia.

Since then, classmates have shown their support in many ways. In May, Olvera was crowned prom queen. She couldn’t attend the party, so classmates delivered her crown to her in the hospital.

Friday, the day before graduation, fellow seniors honored her further by holding a bone marrow drive.

"She's a beautiful person,” said friend Nick Chance. “She is."

"It's good to help others out,” Kim Troung added. “It's good deeds, you know. It feels good to do something."

Blood cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths. It kills more children than any other disease in the United States. When chemotherapy can’t conquer it, a bone marrow transplant often offers the best hope for survival.

Only about half of those in need of a transplant are able to get one, partly because there are not enough good matches.

Susy doesn't need a bone marrow transplant, yet. She likely will after treatment. She wanted to attend the marrow drive to thank her classmates, but on the way to the auditorium, got too sick. She had received chemotherapy just the night before.

"It makes me feel loved,” Susy said of knowing her classmates are registering, “and I just appreciate what they're doing for me, even though they don't know me."

Anyone can register to become a bone marrow donor if they between the ages of 18-to-55, in good health, and weigh at least 110 pounds. Donors must be willing to donate to any patient in need.

There are two methods for donating bone marrow.

The first is similar to blood donation where blood is removed from the arm and passed it through a machine. The second involves a surgical procedure that takes place in a hospital operating room. Doctors use needles to withdraw liquid marrow from the pelvic bone.

A simple mouth swab is all it takes to register to become a hero. The process takes just minutes.

Most at the marrow drive didn't know how easy it is to help those in need of a transplant.

"Then I'll be a football player and a lifesaver,” Xavier Land said. “It'll be pretty cool."

A lifesaver, if not for Susy, then for someone.

To learn more about bone marrow donation and to register, visit this link.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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