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Press Releases / 2005 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 05, 2005

FDNY ACCEPTS “HONOR ROLL OF LIFE” PLAQUE HONORING FIREFIGHTERS WHO HAVE DONATED BONE MARROW; TWO FDNY DONORS MEET WITH BONE MARROW RECIPIENTS FOR FIRST TIME

Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today accepted a plaque from the New York Blood Center (NYBC) dedicated to the more than 60 firefighters who have donated life-saving bone marrow to individuals suffering from a variety of acute diseases. NYBC President Dr. Robert L. Jones was on hand for the presentation at Fire Department Headquarters in Brooklyn. During the presentation the NYBC also reunited for the first time Firefighters Greg Hansen of Ladder Company 153 and Peter McMahon of Ladder Company 26 with their bone marrow recipients.

“Signing up for the bone marrow registry is simple and just another way our members help save lives,” said Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta. “Firefighters Hansen and McMahon stepped up to the challenge and were able to provide a lifeline for two gravely ill individuals. We’re proud of their contribution and proud as a Department to partner with the New York Blood Center for this campaign. We hope that more New Yorkers will join us in choosing to give the gift of life.”

In December 2003, Firefighter McMahon, age 25 and a two-year veteran of the Fire Department, donated bone marrow to 32-year-old Devendar Mata of St. Louis, Missouri. Ms. Mata, a software engineer, was diagnosed with adult acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) in July 1998. After being in remission for five years, she suffered a relapse of the disease in July 2003. After multiple bone marrow drives in her community did not render a match, Ms. Mata turned to the National Marrow Donor Program and Firefighter McMahon was identified as a match.

In October 2003, Firefighter Hansen, age 24 and a three-year veteran of the Fire Department, donated bone marrow to 37-year-old Melanie Harman of West Virginia. Ms. Harman, a married mother of three and a teacher’s assistant, was diagnosed with AML in July 2003 after a battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 1999.

Throughout the years, the Fire Department has encouraged its members to donate blood as well as other blood products such as blood platelets and bone marrow. The Fire Department began its bone marrow donation partnership with the New York Blood Center in 1990. The first firefighter donated bone marrow through this program in 1991. To date, the FDNY is the single-largest bone marrow registry group with more than 8,000 firefighters registered.

The NYBC plaque, the “Honor Roll of Life,” has the engraved names of firefighters who have donated bone marrow to men, women and children diagnosed with diseases ranging from leukemia to Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Probationary Firefighters are encouraged to sign-up for the bone marrow registry during their initial training at the Fire Academy on Randall’s island. For the past five years, nearly 100 percent of every probationary firefighting class has participated in the program.

About the New York Blood Center
This year, New York Blood Center (NYBC) is celebrating 40 years of service to the community. NYBC has been a singular healthcare resource, serving one of the most diverse populations in the world. One of the nations largest blood distribution and services organization, NYBC provides blood and blood products for more than one million transfusions annually, a significant portion of our nation’s blood supply. We serve close to 200 hospitals and 20 million people in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. NYBC is also home to the prestigious Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute, one of the world’s leading centers for basic and applied research in hematology and transfusion medicine.

About the National Marrow Donor Program
The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) helps people who need a life-saving marrow or blood cell transplant. We connect patients, doctors, donors and researchers to resources they need to help more people live longer, healthier lives. To achieve our mission, we:

  • Search our Registry -- the largest listing of volunteer donors and cord blood units in the world
  • Support patients and their doctors throughout the transplant process
  • Match patients with the best donor or cord blood unit using innovative science and technology

Contact: Francis X. Gribbon / Virginia Lam (FDNY) (718) 999-2056

http://www.nyc.gov/fdny

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