NEWS COVERAGE: St. Louis Patch-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH - LIFESTYLES

Collinsville Man Tries to Save His Friend's Child's Life

The picture above is 10 year-old Alex Sims. After hearing about 10 year old Alex Sims and his courageous fight against a rare auto-immune disease known as IPEX Syndrome, Matt Meier of Collinsville immediately registered with Be The Match, hoping to be that one-in-a million match who could help save Alex's life. Matt, who works for the City of Collinsville and Alex’s dad, Brandon Sims, former Communications Coordinator for the Collinsville Chamber of Commerce have worked together on numerous Collinsville events and festivals in the past few years. Both Matt and Brandon and their families were born & raised in Collinsville.

Almost a year to the day after registering, Matt received a message from Be the Match (the organization that screens and registers potential bone marrow donors), informing him that although not a match for Alex, he is in fact a match for someone who is desperately waiting to receive a bone marrow transplant. Realizing that his bone marrow could save someone’s life, Matt didn't hesitate to ask "what's the next step"? Matt is currently waiting for blood test results that will confirm he is a match and is healthy enough to donate. Then it will be up to the doctors and family of the recipient to decide when to proceed with the transplant; a transplant that very well may save the recipient’s life.

When Matt told Brandon he got the call and was a "match" for someone waiting for a bone marrow transplant, Brandon called Matt "a hero". Matt replied, "I'm not a hero. My own mother died a few years ago from Colon Cancer and I'm just doing what I wish someone would have been able to do for her". Brandon says “It is the simple act of kindness and an unselfish willingness to help others that makes Matt and others like him who have registered to be bone marrow donors...HEROES!"

Anyone between the ages of 18 to 44, in good health and willing to donate marrow to anyone with whom they are a match can register on-line. With newer methods, marrow donation is a relatively simple and pain-free process. In 70% of donations (apheresis donation), an IV needle is inserted into the donor’s arm to collect life-saving cells from the donor’s blood, to use them to repopulate the recipient’s bone marrow. The procedure is much like donating blood plasma. The second method is a procedure in which the donor is sedated while a needle about the size of an IV needle is used to collect cells from the donor’s hip bone. Both methods are relatively pain free (except for the initial needle stick) and safe for the donor. Donation takes a few hours and Be the Match pays all donation expenses. When the procedure was explained to Matt Meier, he commented, “It’s such a simple thing to do to help save someone’s life…who wouldn’t do it”?

Want to learn more about Alex Sims and how to be a hero by donating bone marrow or how to make a financial donation to help with the astronomical transplant expenses? Visit www.COTAforTeamAlexS.com to find the link to register with Be the Match (top of the page), or register on-line at http://join.bethematch.org/loveforAlex where you can fill out an application and receive a swab kit by mail. Either way, registration is simple and is the first step to helping to save the life of someone who is desperate for a life-saving transplant. For more information contact cas575@aol.com

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