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School to hold bone marrow/stem cell drive

International School of the Peninsula and Asian Amercian Donor Program teaming up for drive on March 17

Seventh grader Nicolas "Nico" Poux has spent half his life battling acute lymphomatic leukemia with courses of chemotherapy, with only a brief remission.

In declining health, the International School of the Peninsula (ISTP) student known to teachers for his compassion and intellect has been unable to attend school since January. It's unlikely he will survive without a bone marrow stem cell donation.

But marrow transplantation requires an even closer genetic compatibility than organ transplantation, and the possibility of finding a suitable match within a person's family is only 30 percent, according to the National Marrow Donor Program. Mixed-race patients like Nico, who was raised in Paris by a French father and a Korean-American mother, are often at a loss to find well-matched donors, who are frequently -- but not always -- of the same heritage as donation recipients.

To help in the donor search for Nico and others like him, ISTP and the Asian American Donor Program are holding a bone marrow/stem cell drive Thursday (March 17), inviting healthy adults of all ethnic backgrounds to join the national Be a Match marrow registry and provide a simple swab to cheek cells for tissue typing. There will be no charge to register.

"We really hope the community will come out to support Nico," Jovi Craig, communications manager at the school, said.

The drive will be held at ISTP's Cowper campus from 8 to 9:30 a.m., and 2:30 to 5 p.m. at ISTP's Cohn campus.

More information can be found at www.istp.org/bonemarrowdrive.

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