Army National Guard holds bone marrow registration drive to support Specialist Marcos Carona

Marcos Carona continues his battle with leukemia

BAKERSFIELD -  

Army National Guard Specialist Marcos Corona is battling for his life - but unlike many of his fellow army brothers he is fighting right here on American soil - not overseas.

 

Corona was first diagnosed with leukemia in 2011 and entered remission months later. But in late 2012 his cancer returned. 

 

"It did come back and the doctors have told him that the doctors are not going to be able to keep his leukemia in remission, and because of that he needs a bone marrow transplant," Sergeant Alfred Moreno said. "We are doing everything that we can as brothers in arms to help him find that marrow transplant."

 

Out of that commitment came the group "Band of Brothers for a Brother." Corona's brothers in arms came together Saturday for a bone marrow donor registration drive at the Bakersfield National Guard Armory.

 

"We are not overseas, he needs us here. This is his battleground so we are going to be supporting him 100 percent," Sergeant Allen Means said.  

 

At the armory was the Be the Match Foundation - which connects those in need of a marrow donor with just that - a match. 

 

"So what they're doing is filling out a quick consent form, swabbing their cheeks which is typing 6 specific DNA markers," Be the Match coordinator Trina Brajkovich said. "Based on that if they're ever a match for any patient we are going to give them a call and they can come out and save a life."

 

For one of Corona's platoon leaders the opportunity to register was a basic instinct. 

 

"The risk involved and the pain involved is so minimal versus saving a life. So for me it was a no-brainer, just do it," Moreno said.

 

His fellow soldiers only raised one concern when asked to register. 

 

"It was how many people can I drag down here? How can I spread to get the message out? That was it," Means said.

 

In addition to Sunday's registration drive, people can register at BeTheMatchFoundation.org, or make a monetary contribution in Corona's name at BeTheMatchFoundation.org/goto/MatchMarcos.

 

A blood drive in Corona's name will also be held this week, February 11 - 16. Individuals can donate blood at:

5901 Truxtun Avenue (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., Thursday 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. or Saturday 7 a.m. - 1 p.m.) OR 11515 Bolthouse Drive (Monday and Wednesday 11 a.m. - 7 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday 7 a.m. - 3 p.m.). 

 

 

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