Perrysburg hosts donor match registration

Perrysburg hosts donor match registration

PERRYSBURG, OH (WTOL) - Hope Burkin was a 17-year-old student entering her senior year at Perrysburg High School.

Less than a year ago, she passed away from a terminal illness.

On Wednesday and what would have been her 18th birthday, an event was held in her honor.

Jennifer Kregel is a teacher at Perrysburg High school who knew Hope personally.

"She was probably the most positive human being on the face of the earth," said Kregel.

Hope was born with a rare disease called Fanconi Anemia that mainly affects the bone marrow. Victims of this rare disease from decreased production of blood cells that ultimately fails the bone marrow.

Hope's dad, Donny Burkin, was there Wednesday to witness the support.

"She lived 17 years with about five or six years more than the average child with Fanconi Anemi," he said. "But, things took a bad turn and she's up in heaven now. But, this drive here where we've had a lot of students and staff and community members come out to do a cheek swab to try to save other kids and adults who need a bone marrow transplant."

In Hope's honor, all day Wednesday, from 12 p.m.  to 7 p.m. Perrysburg High opened its doors and welcomed everyone who was interested in registering as a bone marrow donor. Many did so.

While the event is over, anyone can still easily sign up for the Be The Match Registry here.

It was from a drive just like this that Hope's mom found out she was a match to donate to her daughter.

"What a nice gesture of the Key Club here at Perrysburg and all of the volunteers to have it on her birthday to kind of memorialize her and to try to save some other kids lives in the future. It's a simple process. When my wife donated in the end, donated her stem cells, it as just like an IV. It took three or four hours sitting on a bed. She was bored sitting there the whole time, but it was very easy," said Donny.

Attendees did not donate Wednesday. They simply filled out some paperwork and got a quick cheek swab.

This process registers them to be a potential stem cell/ bone marrow donor if they are found to be a match for someone in need of a donation in the future.

Approximately 1 in 430 U.S. Be The Match Registry members go on to donate to a patient in need.

Kregel said she couldn't think of an easier way to make an impact.

"I think any time, if it's something we can help someone else have a better quality of life, I think it's something we could all do, and I can't imagine someone not feeling better about themselves," she stressed.

"It only takes one match to make a difference in someone's life," stated Dr. Michael Short, Principal of Perrysburg High School. "This is why we will 'Hope for the Match!'"

While the event is over, anyone can still easily sign up for the Be The Match Registry.

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