Cartagena has organized two bone marrow drives to help find a donor for Oscar and to increase awareness of the program among members of the Latino community.
The first drive will be held May 13, 2008, from 11:30 AM until 4:30 PM at Coy Elementary at 2630 Pickle Road in Oregon.
Father Notter is hosting the second drive at the family’s church, SS. Peter & Paul, on May 18 from 11 AM until 3 PM. The events are open to the public.
Both the East Side and South Side of Toledo bone marrow drives are being coordinated with the NMDP’s May 5-19 national campaign to encourage more individuals to join the registry. Cartagena points out that it is not coincidental that those two weeks bracket the celebration of Mother’s Day.
“What better way to say “Thanks Mom” for giving you life than to be part of this life-saving campaign,” says Cartagena, adding that the goal is to attract 46,000 new donors to the registry.
Cartagena, whose heritage is Puerto Rican/Hondurana, was born and raised in Cleveland. Bilingual, she is a graduate of Cleveland State University and is working toward her MBA at the University of Phoenix. She is a member of the Hispanic Health Commission, the Minority Health Alliance, and Ohio Hispanic Social Workers.
She says that joining the NMDP Registry is as easy as swabbing the inside of your cheek with a cotton swab.
Cartagena also points out that the bone marrow donation process is not painful. “A general or regional anesthesia is always used for this procedure. Donors feel no needle injections and no pain during marrow donation.
“The majority of donations do not involve surgery. The procedure is non-surgical and done on an outpatient basis. If marrow is requested, that procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis as well. Donors never pay any costs, all medical costs are paid for,” she explains.
DJ Bob Olivo of www.bnetradio.com, which is based in Houston but airs internationally via the Internet, interviewed Rico Neller of La Prensa on March 30, 2008 concerning the plight of Oscar. Olivo urged all listeners to do what they could to assist the 9-year old Latino. [See story at on BNetRadio at: https://laprensatoledo.com/Stories/2005/Dec%2014%202005/
April has been designated Minority Health Month. Make this month special for Jessica Villegas and her son Oscar. Visit: http://mih.ohio.gov/
You can find more information about the registry and the registry by visiting www.marrow.org or calling 1-888-862-7769, Ext. 103 or 106, or 1-800-MARROW-2. For more information on the May 13 drive at Coy Elementary, call Jill Duwuve at (419) 693-0624.