Friday, May 12, 2006

Bone marrow drive planned to help dentist

Express Staff Writer

Steve Boughton

The Wood River Valley has a strong tradition of helping each other. Next weekend, anyone who has a few moments can jump into the altruistic fray by registering to be a bone marrow donor. A donor registration drive will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 19, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 20, at Hailey's Emmanuel Episcopal Church on the corner of Second Avenue and Bullion Street.

Hailey dentist Steve Boughton, 56, is at a critical stage in his fight against leukemia. His chances of survival are dependent on finding a bone marrow match through the National Bone Marrow Registry.

Mark Allen, from Mountain States Tumor in Boise, will be running the donor registration drive, as he did in 2003 for another valley resident. If you registered during that drive there is no need to return. You are still on the national registry. A donor must be 18 to 60 years of age with no health problems.

Registering to be a bone marrow donor is quick and fairly painless, and could possibly save a life. Each test involves filling out forms, receiving a quick OK by the donor center physician and then being pricked for blood in one finger. Blood from that little prick is then dripped or blotched onto five separate spaces on a single test card.

"Steve has been getting chemo at St. Luke's in Boise," his wife Lynn said. "He was diagnosed in November and spent six weeks in the hospital getting massive amounts of chemo. He was back in for follow-up rounds, when, in the middle of those, the leukemia came back. The only remedy at this point is a bone marrow transplant, but in order to do that they have to get leukemia back into remission."

One positive aspect is that the majority of the people in the registry are in same ethnic background, she said. African Americans have a much harder time finding a match.

The screening process of the National Bone Marrow Registry has already begun through University of California San Diego Medical Center. Boughton grew up in San Diego and has family there. When the time comes, he will have the transplant procedure done there.

"It will most likely take at least three months before they know if they have a match," Lynn said. "The oncologist says there is a 50-50 chance of finding a match. So, we are in a race to try to find a donor. For people willing to get on the registry, it's a pretty simple deal. For Steve, it'll be about a four-month ordeal if they find a donor.

The National Bone Marrow Donor Program helps people who need a life-saving marrow or blood cell transplant by connecting patients, doctors, donors and researchers to resources they need to help more people live longer, healthier lives. Those already in the registry may go to to update information.

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