The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
La Harpe, IL - Community members are invited to help save lives at an upcoming blood drive and "Be The Match" marrow registry event on July 25.
Tom Koopmans has coordinated many blood and platelet drives in the La Harpe community, but this particular drive is significant because he will be honoring his late friends, Howard and Marilyn Thie, with an added "Be The Match" registry drive.
Howard Thie was a four-gallon blood donor prior to his cancer diagnosis. He would go on to receive blood and platelet products during his own cancer treatment.
According to his daughter, Angie Painter, Howard preferred to always give rather than receive, which made his treatments rather difficult.
He was later diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Mantle Cell, to which he lost his battle.
Marilyn Thie was a beloved elementary school teacher. In her retired years, Marilyn volunteered her time with Hospice to drive patients to their appointments.
Marilyn would later receive dialysis due to kidney failure, but still wished to be tested to see if she was a matching marrow donor to patients search the Be The Match registry.
Leukemia and lymphoma patients are often treated with a bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell transplants from anonymous volunteer donors on the "Be The Match" registry.
The Thies' family and friends want to help those patients, as they helped so many people in their lifetimes.
Joining the Be The Match registry is simple - a registration form, health history check, and a cheek swab - but the commitment to the searching patients is immense.
The event will take place July 25 from 12:00-6:00 p.m. at the Community Clubhouse in La Harpe.
Refreshments will be served to blood donors and new Be The Match members. Financial contributions to help offset the cost of tissue-typing will be accepted.
For more information about the event and Be The Match, visit bethematchfoundation.org/goto/HowardThie.