Almost two and a half years ago we held a bone marrow drive for my long time Berghoff family member, Dean Coronato, or as my kids call him, Uncle Dean. In 2010 Dean had been the engineer behind Berghoff for 40 years, but as you can tell an even bigger part of my actual family. At the time Dean had been a stoic fighter of Follicular Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma for almost 12 years and was in desperate need of a cure. I decided along with the Berghoff team to make it our mission to find a match for a bone marrow transplant for Dean. And so the journey began, along with DKMS, the world’s largest bone marrow donor center, in which we asked the community to join “Dean’s Team” by participating in our drive.
We were blessed to have over 350 friends, family, and community members register to be a bone marrow donor and raised over $10,000 to help aid in the process. If a registrant was matched, they could possibly save Dean’s life or the life of anyone in need of bone marrow. It took no longer than 10 minutes and a simple swab of the mouth to become a registrant. Unfortunately we were unsuccessful in finding a match for Dean, but I am pleased to report he is now in remission and continuing his life as a husband, father, grandfather, and the engine behind The Berghoff and his family.
Fast forward to today and you’ll imagine how surprised I was to learn that the efforts of our labors with the drive are helping to save another patient’s life. As luck would have it my right hand woman and close family friend, Ashley Malmquist was contacted a few weeks ago by DKMS as a match for a 2 year old girl. Call me crazy, but the fact that Ashley now has the chance to save someone’s life (and that she is such an intricate part in my life), all because she signed up as a national registrant in an effort to save Dean’s life (another key person to me) is no coincidence. As Ashley says “I signed up to help save Dean’s life, I never in a million years thought I would be contacted as a match for someone else. While the actual donation process is a lot to take in, it is nothing compared to saving a life.” Ashley has only begun her journey of the bone marrow donation, but I am truly excited to be a part of it and I look forward to watching it play out.
If nothing else I hope you feel inspired to sign up as a bone marrow donor registrant today. The act of saving a life is something that will never be forgotten. Stay tuned as we follow Ashley’s journey ahead.