NC government leaders back registration drive at legislature

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RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Politicians and members of the public are invited to attend Wednesday's all-day bone marrow donor registration drive at the Legislative Building in Raleigh.

Learn more about being a bone marrow donor

Members of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches were expected to attend a morning kickoff event. The event, held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., could be live-saving for those suffering from blood cancers.

Participants in the drive are between the ages of 18 and 55. They fill out a form and get the insides of their mouths swabbed before entry into a national registry. A registrant could one day be asked to donate marrow or blood cells that could help someone with cancer.

Roughly 70 percent of patients battling blood disorders need to turn to those outside their own families to find a match.

While signing up doesn't necessarily mean you'll have to donate, there's always the possibility that you could save someone's life. It's that realization that prompted one local man to register.

"A lot of African Americans are not on the registry so it's a prime opportunity to give back to the community and maybe back to the world," explained Demond Gooch.

Gooch said he learned about the drive on ABC11 Eyewitness News Wednesday morning.

Superior Court Judge Carl Fox of Orange County has recently made public his bone marrow disorder and raised awareness about increasing marrow matches through registry drives. Fox is battling myelodysplastic syndrome, also known as MDS.

"It just seems to me, if you can do a small thing and really have a great impact, why not?" asked Speaker of the House Tim Moore.

The registry event is personal for members of the State Employees Union as well.

"One of our staff people, Kevin LeCount, who's been diagnosed with leukemia," revealed Mitch Leonard, Executive Director of the State Employees Union. "It's very critical that we find matches for these folks, because in some cases that's the only option they have."

For more information on whether you're a good candidate, to learn more about the process, or to request a kit be sent to you free of charge, visit:

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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