WINSTON-SALEM, NC (WGHP) — Not long after Chad Tucker’s daughter, Pearl Monroe Tucker, was diagnosed with leukemia in November 2019, friends wanted to help his family and their little girl, affectionately known as Roe Roe.
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“A lot of friends came to us and said: what can we do? We want to do something,” Chad said. “A friend, Keasha Rice, asked if she could keep a bone marrow disc in honor of Roe Roe.”
Roe Roe was 3 at the time and had been undergoing treatments for acute lymphoblastic leukemia for several years, but doctors said a bone marrow transplant wouldn’t be necessary.
“We know that many people, especially children, need a bone marrow transplant,” he said.
Chad attended the DKMS drive in March 2020. He completed the quick cheek swab that would put him on the global registry.
“Every year, on average, more than 14,000 people search for a match,” said Olivia Haddox of DKMS. “About 70% of those people go for a match on a complete stranger trust.”
About 1% of people on the registry are called during their lifetime. In August 2021, Chad was in that 1%. He got the call that he was a perfect match with a woman battling leukemia.
“I was nervous. I had never had surgery before, so this was my first procedure,” he said. That’s when I knew I was in the right place at the right time and doing exactly what I had to do.”
Chad’s bone marrow was collected from his pelvis.
According to data from DKMS, about 15% of donors have their marrow collected through their pelvis, and 85% of donors donate through a process called peripheral blood stem cell collection, similar to stem cells being filtered from their blood through their arms.
Chad was home within hours of his procedure and back at work the next day. DKMS covered all medical bills.
“I was in pain, but nothing a mild pain reliever couldn’t fix,” he said. “Besides the birth of my children, wedding anniversary and becoming a Christian, this was one of the most incredible days of my life.”
Chad doesn’t know who his recipient is or much about her, but he hopes the two will meet one day.
“We pray for her every night,” he said.
For more information on how to get into the registry, visit DKMS.org for a free swab kit emailed to you.
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