Marrow drive successful
By By SHERRY DIGMON
Advance Staff Writer
Getting people to turn out for the blood drive and bone marrow testing may have seemed to be the hard part. But leukemia victim Quinsenta "Quin" Willis may be facing the hardest part now n waiting for the testing to be completed, waiting to see if a compatible bone marrow donor is found.
For weeks, Willis and Susan Smith, Donor Services Recruiter with the American Red Cross, and a group known as Quin's Friends have been rallying support for a minority bone marrow drive in Atmore.
Last Friday, 66 people came to give a tube of blood to be tested in hopes of finding a match for Willis. Of those, 44 came to donate whole blood, and 37 units were collected.
On Saturday, 75 gave a tube of blood to be tested.
Both drives were conducted by the American Red Cross, Gulf Coast Region Blood Services. A technician with the American Red Cross Bone Marrow Bank in Atlanta was also on hand.
The Friday blood drive was open to all races. The bone marrow drive was for African-Americans only, since marrow is more compatible within a race.
But the call for help crossed race lines.
Willis and her family were there, although Willis had to leave early one day because she wasn't feeling well.
One of Willis's friends, a truck driver, was in Detroit last week when a cousin told him about the drive. He headed south.
Willis knew many of the donors, but there were a lot she didn't know.
During the drive, a photographer with the bone marrow bank in Atlanta shot pictures which may be included in a national publication.