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October 30. 2013 6:54PM

Peterborough family plans bone marrow drive

PETERBOROUGH — A bone marrow registration drive has been organized by a Peterborough couple who were inspired by their son’s medical crisis to find a bone marrow match for him as well as for others.

The drive is planned for 2 to 6 p.m. on Friday at Bowling Acres on Elm Street.

Laura and Steve Mahoney, owners of The Need for Speed Garage on Depot Street, were hit by the hard news one year ago that their 33-year-old son Steve Mahoney Jr. was suffering from cancer.

“It’s been just about almost exactly one year since Steve was diagnosed with Stage 4B Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” said mom Laura Mahoney Tuesday.

Mahoney Jr. was born and raised in Nashua, but moved to North Carolina four years ago for work.

Mahoney Jr. has received three different types of chemotherapy to no avail. Although the family has been told Hodgkin’s lymphoma can be an easier cancer to battle than others, his latest doctor has referred to his case as “Hodgkin’s from hell,” Mahoney said.

Recently, “He started an extremely aggressive form of chemotherapy. At this point it seems to be working, we won’t know for a couple of weeks, but without a bone marrow transplant Steve’s prognosis is not good,” Mahoney said.

Like 80 percent of the people in need of a bone marrow transplant, there is no family match for Mahoney Jr.

By holding a registration drive the couple can add members to the registration and raise awareness of the need for bone marrow donors, Mahoney said.

“Our hope is that we get a match for Steve, but our hope is also that we find a match for other people,” Mahoney said. “As much as we want to help Steve, we also know there are hundreds of thousands of people out there relying on these treatments.”

The registration consists of answering some medical questions and having a swab taken from the inside of your cheek.

There is no cost to register. By state law health insurance companies must pay the testing fee, Mahoney said. If you are not insured the testing will be covered through a foundation called Michael’s Match.

Participants must be 18 to 44 years old to register.

“If you turn out to be a match you are contacted and sent to the nearest hospital for further testing,” Mahoney said.

Blood tests will confirm the match and the donor would then be asked to undergo one of either two procedures. The first extracts bone marrow from a blood donation. The other is a more invasive procedure in which bone marrow is taken directly from the hip bone. The procedure chosen depends on the needs of the transplant recipient.

“Even if our drive doesn’t help Steve there is a huge potential it will help someone else,” Mahoney said. “It’s free and it’s easy.”

If you can’t attend the registration drive you can go online and request a home testing kit from bethematch.org.

You can learn more about Mahoney Jr. or support him financially at https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/74n1/supportforsteve.

mpierce@newstote.com


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