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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 D
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SOURCE New York Blood Center
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