North Carolina Department of Correction News - March 1999

Marlowe donates bone marrow

GOLDSBORO — A decision Sgt. James Marlowe made in church five years ago landed him in a hospital outpatient operating room Jan. 22 as he tried to help save the life of a woman he had never met.

Marlowe went into the hospital to donate bone marrow. He first heard about the need for bone marrow donors at his church, Antioch Presbyterian Church of Goldsboro. Three children of a church member were in need of bone marrow donations and Marlowe was one of the many church members who put their names on the register, but were never called.

Years passed. Marlowe and his wife, Denise, were blessed with their own child, a girl they named Kristian.

Then last fall, the Red Cross called. They said Marlowe was a potential match for a 44-year-old woman suffering from leukemia.

"I realized that it was something that was really needed, so I had no trouble in making my decision," Marlowe said. "I spoke with my wife about it. She said she would be glad to be by my side."

Marlowe went through a series of tests to make sure he was a match and that he didn't carry any disease. He donated blood three different times. Each test he passed increased the chances he would become a donor.

"Every time I talked with the Red Cross, they always asked first if I was still willing to make the donation," Marlowe said. "The entire process is on a close timetable, since the recipient has radiation that kills their bone marrow in preparation for the donation."

After Christmas, Marlowe received the call that he had passed all the tests to be a donor and would soon be needed in Winston-Salem for three days. On Jan. 22, he went to Bowman Gray Medical Center for the required outpatient surgery to make the donation. There was a pre-operation meeting the day before and a day of recovery afterwards.

"I was put under anesthesia. They made an incision in the small of my back and took 1,200 milliliters of bone marrow out of my hip," Marlowe said. "The procedure took about two hours."

Marlowe said he hopes his donation helps the woman suffering from leukemia. He hopes to meet her someday. For that to happen, both parties must agree to meet, ending the anonymity that is part of the bone marrow donation agreement.

Marlowe is a sergeant at the minimum-security unit of Wayne Correctional Center. He began his career with the department as a correctional officer at Eastern Correctional Institution in 1988. In 1989, he transferred to Goldsboro Correctional Center, which became a part of Wayne Correctional Center in January 1999.

For more information on bone marrow donation, you can contact Ann Webb with the American Red Cross in Raleigh at 919-231-8366, the American Bone Marrow Donor Registry at 1-800-736-6283 or the National Marrow Donor Program at 1-800-654-1247. u

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