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Blood, Marrow Drive Offers Hope for Baseball Player, 15
Date:4/1/2009

NEW YORK, April 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Spring may be synonymous with milder weather and opening day for baseball fans, but for Alex Mele of Coram, NY, a 15-year-old baseball player and sophomore at Longwood High School, this season will be a fight to shut out cancer.

Mele, a catcher and third baseman for the Brentwood Bandits and member of the Longwood Junior Varsity Baseball Team, suddenly fell ill last November. He was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML), a fast-growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow.

Alex, who is undergoing chemotherapy, hopes that a bone marrow match may allow him to recover and return to the ball field. But so far, none of his four siblings is a match. His chance of finding an outside match of similar Italian heritage is 1 in 20,000.

The Knights of Columbus # 1828 of Glen Cove, NY will host a blood and marrow drive for Alex on April 7 from 3:30 to 9:00 PM, in conjunction with Long Island Blood Services (LIBS) and the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP).

Those who cannot make this blood and marrow drive are asked to please donate blood this month, within your own community. Precise matches are needed for people young and old everyday, and you just might be that special match for someone. The best thing you can do is give the gift of life.

"Even if we could help just one kid, it would be well worth it," said Lou Mele, Alex's father.

Any company, community organization, place of worship, or individual may host a blood drive. Blood donors receive free mini-medical exams on site including information about their temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure and hemoglobin level. Eligible donors include those people at least age 16 with parental consent (in NY) or 17 (in NJ), who weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, are in good health and meet all Food & Drug Administration and NY or NJ State Department of Health donor criteria. People over 75 may donate with a doctor's note.

To donate blood, please call:

Toll Free: 1-800-933-2566

Visit: www.nybloodcenter.org

About New York Blood Center:

New York Blood Center (NYBC) is one of the nation's largest non-profit, community-based blood centers. NYBC has been providing blood, transfusion products and services to patients in greater New York since 1964. NYBC is also home to the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute and the National Cord Blood Program at the Howard P. Milstein National Cord Blood Center, the world's largest public cord blood bank. NYBC provides medical services and programs (Clinical, Transfusion, and Hemophilia Services) through our medical professionals and transfusion medicine physicians.

    Contact:  Leslie Gonzalez
    (212) 570-3304  Office
    (646) 342-3038  Mobile
    lgonzalez2@nybloodcenter.org


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SOURCE New York Blood Center
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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