D.C.

Haines Point health fair pushes bone marrow registry

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Hundreds turned out at Haines Point for a health fair, sponsored by the African-American women's group The Links.

This time, the event was a personal one—one of their own, D.C. Attorney Dorothy Dickerson is in the fight of her life.

"In December 2011, I was diagnosed with leukemia, and I went through two sets of chemotherapy,” said Dickerson, who is a Leukemia patient.

Dickerson needs a bone marrow or stem cell transplant—but, she has already had her hopes dashed once.

"I had a match who was going to be my donor, but they couldn't find him,” Dickerson said.

Recruiters armed with information encouraged attendees to join the marrow donor registry and keep their contact information up to date. They also helped potential donors get tested, using a simple cheek swab.

"I really never thought about it to be honest with you...but when she told me she had leukemia I rushed down here to be by her side,” said Mark Eldridge, who is a D.C. resident, who is also a friend of Dickerson’s.

"I made a personal choice to give back this year to society and I was moved by Dorothy's story,” Pina said.

Organizers hope more people will be inspired by ABC’s Robin Roberts' story. After battling breast cancer, the Good Morning America anchor was diagnosed with a rare disorder called MDS. She is now getting a bone marrow transplant from her sister. But, her plight has brought much-needed attention and thousands of potential new donors to the registry—and given Dickerson renewed hope too.

"They got 15,000 donors—they’re going into the registry now and I could get a match from that," she said.

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