Carson rises up to help cancer patient | NevadaAppeal.com
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Carson rises up to help cancer patient

by F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer
BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Cameron Hardy, 19, was diagnosed with AML, acute myeloid leukemia in January 2007. Hardy is pictured thanking a potential donor after he completed a swap test at the Plaza Hotel during the 'Gift of Life Bone Marrow Drive' on Sunday.
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More than 300 people showed up for the Cameron Hardy Bone Marrow Drive on Sunday, overwhelming the Carson City teen.

“It was fantastic. I’d go up and talk to the people. I’d say who I was and I’d thank them and they were just saying, ‘It’s my pleasure’,” said Cameron, 19. “And I learned about a lot of other people who had nieces and nephews, grandsons, sons, daughters, who went through this and survived. It was very inspirational to hear all of those stories. There are smaller kids than me that have survived, so I know that I will.”

In January, Cameron was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a rapidly progressing cancer of the blood. According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, only 20.7 percent of the people diagnosed with AML survive five years.

A first round of chemotherapy knocked the disease into remission in March 2007, but within 11 months Cameron had relapsed.

His only hope for survival is a bone marrow transplant, which prompted Cameron’s mother, Michele Lynn, to recruit friends to organize Sunday’s drive with the help of the National Marrow Donor Program.

Michelle had heard that 70 people would show for the testing. That estimate was quadrupled. And, she said, about 80 percent of the people who came paid the $25 testing fee themselves.

“I’m still processing it,” said Michele, a single mother of five. “I never expected the community to rise like they did. Even the coordinator said it was unbelievable the number of people who came out for a community of this size.”

Each of the 306 testing kits used on Sunday will be matched specifically to Cameron’s test results.

Michele said it will be five weeks before the results of the testing are known. If a possible match is found, the donor will be asked to submit to a blood test.

All of the donor’s costs for the transplantation will be covered by Cameron’s medical insurance.

“(The turnout) just made me feel very blessed. These were strangers to me and they showed how much they cared for me by coming down and doing this,” Cameron said.

Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.

YOU CAN HELP

The odds of Cameron Hardy finding a bone marrow match increase with the number of people who get tested.

To order a $52 self-testing kit, visit marrow.org and click on JOIN then click on JOIN NOW.

IF YOU GO

What: Cameron Hardy Night at Chili’s Bar and Grill

When: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., June 30

Where: Chili’s, 3784 Highway 395 S. and 3205 Retail Drive.

Who: Present a flyer to your server on Cameron Hardy Night and Chili’s will donate 10 percent of the sales to Cameron’s fund. A limited supply of flyers will be available at the restaurant on the night of the fundraiser.