FIRE COMMISSIONER SALVATORE J. CASSANO AND NEW YORK BLOOD CENTER HONOR FIREFIGHTER BONE MARROW DONORS
FDNY Firefighter Who Donated Bone Marrow Met Recipient and Her Family for the First Time
Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano, Christopher D. Hillyer, M.D., President and CEO of New York Blood Center (NYBC) and Howard P. Milstein, Chairman of NYBC’s Board of Trustees, joined today to add the names of the six 2011 FDNY bone marrow donors to the “Honor Roll of Life” at the eighth induction ceremony at FDNY Headquarters.
During the ceremony, Firefighter James Wildes, 37, of Engine 162 on Staten Island met the recipient of his life-saving stem cell donation, Alise Mareerose Williams, 6, from Evansdale, Iowa.
“The partnership between the FDNY, the New York Blood Center, and the Be The Match Registry is an extraordinary example of the remarkable good that can be done from selflessly helping others,” Commissioner Cassano said. “To date, 140 FDNY members have made a life-saving donation through this partnership, and thousands more stand ready to donate when called. This commitment to saving lives, in every way possible, shows the true character of the FDNY.”
“The FDNY’s role in helping preserve the lives and property of our city is widely recognized,” Dr. Hillyer said. “It is particularly inspiring to be among the firefighters of this great city who risk their lives daily without a second thought, and who make the life-saving, precious gifts we honor today.”
More About Firefighter Wildes and Recipient Williams
Alise Mareerose Williams was diagnosed with congenital heart defects at just two months old. At the age of 16 months, Alise had her second open heart surgery. During the hospital stay, Alise’s blood tests showed that she had a very rare genetic disorder called Fanconi anemia, and would eventually need a bone marrow transplant to survive. A search of the National Bone Marrow Registry in September of 2008 revealed a match for Alise. On February 4th, 2009, Alise received the bone marrow transplant she so desperately needed. Three years later, she is doing wonderfully, and though her fight is not over, she has continued to improve. Alise was joined by her mother, Debra, her father, Troy and her 12-year-old brother CJ.
Firefighter James Wildes joined the New York City Fire Department in May of 2002. While a probationary firefighter in the FDNY Fire Academy in July of 2002, Firefighter Wildes joined the Be The Match Registry. He was engaged to be married at the time and knowing he would have a family of his own one day, he believed that he should put his name on the registry in case there was a chance he could one day be a match for someone. When James was called as a potential donor, he did not hesitate to answer the call. Firefighter Wildes donated his bone marrow on February 3rd, 2009 at Memorial Sloan Kettering. He has been married to his wife Mary for 8 years and they have two children, their 4-year-old son Christian and a 16-month-old daughter Meagan.
More About the FDNY / NYBC Partnership
Members of the FDNY make up New York Blood Center’s single largest group of bone marrow and stem cell donors. To date a total of 140 FDNY members have given these gifts to patients - in some cases more than once - accounting for 13 percent of all donors from New York Blood Center. FDNY encourages its members to donate blood and other blood products, such as platelets, bone marrow and stem cells. Its bone-marrow-donation partnership with NYBC began in 1990. Over the past twenty years, the FDNY has become the single largest group on NYBC’s bone marrow registry with more than 8,000 FDNY members on the donor list. Probationary firefighters are encouraged to sign up for the bone marrow registry during their training at the Fire Academy on Randall’s Island.
About New York Blood Center: New York Blood Center (NYBC) is one of the nation's largest non-profit, community-based blood centers. NYBC has been providing blood, transfusion products and services to hospitals since 1964. NYBC serves more than 20 million people in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. NYBC is also home to the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute and the National Cord Blood Program at the Howard P. Milstein National Cord Blood Center, the world's largest public cord blood bank. NYBC provides medical services and programs (Clinical, Transfusion, and Hemophilia Services) through our medical professionals along with consultative services in transfusion medicine. Please visit us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/newyorkbloodcenter. Follow us on Twitter: @NYBloodCenter. For a list of NYBC blood drives and donor center locations in NY and NJ, please visit www.nybloodcenter.org and click on the “Locate a Blood Drive” link or call 1-800-933-2566.
About Be The Match:
Be The Match is a movement that engages a growing community of people inspired to help patients who need a marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant from an unrelated donor. The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), a leader in the field of marrow and cord blood transplantation, created Be The Match to provide opportunities for the public to become involved in saving the lives of people with leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening diseases. Volunteers can join the Be The Match Registry - the world’s largest and most diverse listing of potential marrow donors and donated cord blood units - as well as contribute financially to Be The Match Foundation® or give their time. For more information, visit BeTheMatch.org or call 1 (800) MARROW-2.
Press Contact: Francis X. Gribbon & Frank Dwyer, (FDNY) (718) 999-2056