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Quin's Friends' spread word

By By SHERRY DIGMON
Advance Staff Writer
The word is getting out.
People are asking questions about the blood drive and bone marrow drive scheduled for Quinsenta "Quin" Willis who has recently been diagnosed with leukemia. Flyers are going into businesses and churches. Banners soon will be up around town.
News of Willis's condition brought Gabby Dortch to Monday's meeting of Quin's Friends, a group heading up the effort to get African Americans to turn out and give a tube of blood in hopes of finding a bone marrow match for Willis.
Dortch helped head up a bone marrow drive for her brother Tony Hollingsworth in December 1997. Although more than 1,000 people were registered, no match was found. He died in January 1999.
Traditionally, minorities don't donate blood, and they don't turn out for bone marrow drives.
Although the people who worked on the Hollingsworth drive appealed to minorities to expand the bone marrow registry, they were not very successful. However, Dortch said, maybe African Americans will respond to Willis's plea.
With that in mind, Quin's Friends are handing out flyers in the African American community and anywhere else they think they can reach potential donors. Efforts are expanding to Bay Minette. Smith spoke to a group of students at Escambia County Middle School Tuesday, appealing to them to appeal to their parents.
Part of the effort is to educate African Americans on blood donation and bone marrow donation.
Usually, bone marrow testing is expensive, but since this drive targets a minority, there will be no charge. In addition, Smith has secured funding for 53 Whites to be tested at no charge.
This drive is in two parts. On Friday, July 27, the American Red Cross will hold a blood drive from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., at Atmore City Hall. The goal is to get 25 productive units. This is open to all races and blood types. During the blood drive, a tube of blood will be taken to submit for bone marrow testing as well.
The bone marrow drive only will be held Saturday, July 28, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Atmore City Hall. This process requires drawing a tube of blood only.
For information on the drive or the process, call Smith at (888)250-8185.