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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 11, 2004

Poker Run Fundraiser To Benefit Iowa Marrow Donor Program

Organizers in the Dubuque area will raise much-needed funds for the Iowa Marrow Donor Program during a special "Poker Run" event Aug. 21 at Wilwert's Harley-Davidson in Dubuque.

Event sign-up will be from 10 to 11:30 a.m. The last motorcycle will leave by noon and return by 5 p.m. Riders will stop in Balltown, Colesburg, Centralia and Bernard and end in Peosta. A dinner, auction and dance are scheduled at Mike's Pub & Grub in Peosta following the ride.

Jack Koetz, Peosta resident and organizer of the ride, believes that, "No one should have to hear the words, 'We're sorry, we can't find a match for you.'" Koetz organized a donor drive within the Centralia/Peosta Fire Department in 2001 and learned at that time about the ongoing need to raise money for the cost of tissue typing.

All proceeds will go toward covering the cost of tissue typing for prospective donors. For each person who joins the Iowa Marrow Donor Program and the National Marrow Donor Program registries, the lab will charge $65 per person for tissue typing. On average, the Iowa Marrow Donor Program raises more than $130,000 each year to cover the cost for those who join. In 2003, 2,089 people joined the registry, and to date, more than 1,400 people joined since Jan. 1, 2004.

Each year, more than 30,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with diseases treatable by a stem cell transplant. Of the patients needing to receive healthy stem cells from someone else, only 30 percent have a suitable family match. The remaining 70 percent must rely on unrelated donors.

The Iowa Marrow Donor Program was created in 1981 and became affiliated with the National Marrow Donor Program in 1991. On average, 25 to 30 donors are called to donate each year from the Iowa Marrow Donor Program's registry of more than 21,500 persons, and many more are called for further testing. Approximately 2,000 people join the Iowa and national registries each year through the Iowa Marrow Donor Program.

For more information regarding the ride, please contact Jack Koetz, at 563-557-8796. For more information regarding the Iowa Marrow Donor Program, please call 800-944-8220 or 319-356-3337 or contact Debra Hoyle, membership coordinator of the Iowa Marrow Donor Program, by e-mail at Information about the program is available online at

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Health Care, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room E110 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945,