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Release: Jan. 9, 2003

Blood and marrow donor drive will honor Fort Dodge boy

Friends and family of a 5-year-old Fort Dodge boy will hold a drive to register potential marrow donors and collect donated blood in his honor from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20, at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Fort Dodge.

Justin Alphs, 5, of Fort Dodge, was diagnosed with leukemia in November 2002. It is possible that he will need a bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell transplant. He has no siblings to test as possible donors and will turn to the National Marrow Donor Program's national registry of more than 4.8 million people for an unrelated donor. It is the family's hope that through this drive, awareness will be raised about the ongoing need for people to join the registry so patients can have life-saving transplants.

The Iowa Marrow Donor Program seeks healthy, committed volunteers, ages 18 to 60 and in general good health, to register their tissue type with the National Marrow Donor Program through the Iowa Marrow Donor Program. Once registered, a volunteer may be called upon to donate marrow or blood stem cells to a person needing a transplant to fight a life-threatening disease. Registration is easy, requiring completion of a simple consent form and a small blood sample.

People who wish to donate blood need to pre-register with Joni Clark at (515) 546-6303. A total of 60 persons will be able to donate blood that day. No appointment is necessary to join the Iowa Marrow Donor Program. There is no limit to the number of people who can join that day.

For more information about the donor drive or to receive application forms, call the Iowa Marrow Donor Program toll free at (800) 944-8220 or locally at (319) 356-3337. For more information regarding the Iowa Marrow Donor Program, please contact Debra Hoyle, membership coordinator of the Iowa Marrow Donor Program, by e-mail at Information about the program can be found online at


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