BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Using #Fight4Monica, a group of friends of a Birmingham realtor who needs an immediate life-saving bone marrow transplant has organized a donor awareness campaign, in hopes of saving her life and others.
54-year-old Monica Yates Mitchell was diagnosed with Leukemia last December and has been in and out of the hospital battling an aggressive form of the cancer.
“Leukemia is a disease that we should not be dying for,” Mitchell said. “There’s no reason that we should die from this disease because the lack of a bone marrow donor.”
“I want the community to understand that with blood cancers like Leukemia it’s not really related to what you eat, what you smoke, what you drink, this is at the cellular level of the blood, so it could happen to anyone. We know this is for Monica, but it could be for you or anyone you know in the future. So, this is our fight together,” Mitchells close friend, Rosilind Houston said.
The small contingent of friends is holding a drive-up live remote event at Sixth Avenue Baptist Church on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4Pp.m.
“We are our brother’s keeper and, in this case, we are our sister’s keeper and why not come out and take care of Monica and take care of the rest of the community,’ Walter Body, a member if the committee said.
This is a partnership with BeTheMatch.org in a search for a possible match for Mitchell but also raise awareness among the African-American community on the need to become bone marrow donors.
African-Americans only have a 23% chance of obtaining a match compared to other races and are losing the battle to blood cancers at an alarming rate.
The campaign consists of a simple mouth-swab test and if you are not a match for Mitchell, you could be a match for someone else. You can also give blood, which could save a life.
“We are encouraging all ages to come out and participate in this event, no one will be turned away,” Organizer Kimbertly Jones said.
To sign up, text “Fight for Monica” to 61474 or log onto www.BeTheMatch.org They are especially looking for African-Americans between the ages of 18 and 44 but anyone can be a donor.
You can also join CBS 42’s Art Franklin and Sherri Jackson on Saturday as we take part in the program at Sixth Avenue Baptist Church.