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Malcom family plans Bone Marrow Registry Drive Friday on The Square

COVINGTON -- The Malcom family is celebrating the successful bone marrow transplant that Jaime Malcom underwent 17 years ago by hosting a Bone Marrow Registry Drive in Covington Friday night from 6 to 8 p.m.

There will be live entertainment on The Square with Jordan Rager (featured on season 2 of "The Voice,) for the younger generation and singer Jimmy George for those a bit older. Face painting will be offered by students from Cousins Middle School.

To register to be a bone marrow donor, a desk will be set up at the Community Center of First United Methodist Church, one block off The Square, where a team will be in place to gather information and take a mouth swab.

"You could save a life. There are so many people out there in need of a transplant. You could be the one," said event organizer Gloria Malcom, mother of Jaime who received a transplant at age 5 and is now 22 years old and a student at Georgia Perimeter College. Her older daughter, Julie DeFelice, then 13, but now a teacher at Barksdale Elementary School in Conyers, was the donor. "We were fortunate that our oldest daughter was a match, but there are so many who cannot find that match."

Malcom said there is no cost to be on the registry and should it turn out that an individual is a match, there is no cost for the donor during the transplant.

Malcom said in their experience, Julie was given an epidural and the bone marrow was extracted through her lower spine.

"You're looking at an overnight stay in the hospital and maybe a little soreness the next day, but that's all," she said.

"I would like people to understand that it is a very long, drawn out procedure to find a match if you're not on that registry," she said. "Time is always of the essence. If we did not have a match with our daughter, we wold not have had enough time to find one."

Malcom said Jaime was diagnosed with leukemia on Aug. 8 and she received the bone marrow transplant on Nov. 13.

"Within 30 days, her blood counts were close to normal and we got to go home. We had a few little complications along the way, but she was released in March of 1996."

Malcom said she wanted to host the event together with her niece Michelle Bailey, a counselor at Cousins Middle School, because "there are so many out there that need it." Also, she said Robin Roberts of "Good Morning America" is going through a bone marrow transplant and she felt now would be a good time because people are aware of it. There will be 15 Malcom family members at the event.

Jaime now has her sights on becoming a pediatric hemotologist/oncologist with a view of helping children who are victims of cancer and leukemia.

"It's very important that children don't suffer. It's very tragic," she said. "They shouldn't have to deal with the pain, shots, walking down to the radiation room, being in a cold hospital, not really knowing what's going on, but having your parents cry in front of you."

For more information on becoming a bone marrow donor, go to bethematch.org.