Rock the Marrow 2012
When I first met Jamie Gaillard in the summer of 2010 she was in
the fight of her life. Doctors had diagnosed Jamie with leukemia
earlier that year and she was undergoing chemotherapy, receiving
regular blood and platelet transfusions and awaiting a bone marrow
transplant. Despite everything she was going through Jamie always
kept a smile on her face.
Jamie’s leukemia diagnosis caught her off guard. She had been
feeling tired and week for a while, but chalked it up to working
long hours at the Trinity Broadcasting Network and at her church,
Calvary Assembly of God. She was shocked when she learned she had a
potentially fatal disease. After all, she was just 25 years old, in
good shape and thought she had her whole life ahead of her.
Doctors told her that her best shot at survival would be to have
a bone marrow transplant, but none of her family members were a
match. That’s when Jamie turned to the National Bone Marrow
Registry to see if a stranger could help. Hospital staff warned her
not to get her hopes up too high because it’s often difficult to
match patients with donors. Jamie’s faith never wavered and she
found not one, but two perfect bone marrow matches.
Though she was relieved, Jamie couldn’t help but think of all
the patients in the hospital that may not find a bone marrow match.
When she learned about Terrell Wilson, a 21-year-old leukemia
patient who died on Christmas day because he couldn’t find a bone
marrow match, Jamie knew she had to do something to help.
Jamie came up with Rock the Marrow, a blood and bone marrow
drive hosted at Calvary Assembly of God in conjunction with a music
festival. The first event was held on Jamie’s birthday and she was
so excited that other people would be given life on the day she
Jamie said, “I just believe that maybe God is allowing me to go
through this because He wants me to reach someone, even if it’s so
save one other life by getting the word out there for the registry
and how to donate and even donating blood because that’s really
important in this whole thing.”
Shortly after Rock the Marrow 2010, Jamie underwent her bone
marrow transplant, but her body rejected the marrow from the donor.
Later that year she underwent a second bone marrow transplant, but
that one didn’t work either.
Though she was in the fight of her life I remember Jamie saying,
“People going through things, they just have to remember that it’s
not a death sentence and there’s no reason to give up. As
long as you can hold on to something, remember that the process
could be for a reason and just remember to look for that reason to
look for something positive in everything you go through and that’s
important and will keep you going.”
The medical community said there was nothing else that could be
done to cure Jamie from leukemia. Yet, she didn’t let her prognosis
shake her faith or her passion for helping others. Jamie attended
Calvary Assembly of God’s church service via skype and delivered an
inspiring sermon from her hospital room shortly before she
succumbed to leukemia in January 2011.
Jamie’s legacy lives on. Rock the Marrow is now in its third
year and will be held on July 22 from 9am-2pm at Calvary Assembly
of God in Winter Park, Fl. Each year the event helps save hundreds
of lives through blood donation and inspires many to join the
National Bone Marrow Registry. (Book an appointment
Jamie’s friends and family say she’s smiling down on them as her
congregation gives the gift of life in her honor.
Tours Meets US Surgeon General
When I first met the Be a Hero Bike Tour crew in Palm Beach
their enthusiasm was palpable as they began their month-long bike
ride to Washington D.C.. I followed the group for the first leg of
their trip as they pedaled their way up the Florida coast and their
excitement never waned and three weeks later the crew was still
going strong as I met up with them in Washington D.C..
A crowd of cheers and loved ones greeted the cyclists as they
ended their 1,000 mile journey at the Department of Health and
US Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin gave members of the team
a certificate of appreciation and autographed their jerseys. She
also held a private meeting with the group to brainstorm ideas on
how to increase blood donations.
After cycling for a month, touting the importance of blood
donation, it was only appropriate that the group ended their
journey with a blood drive. Several cyclists practiced what they
preached and gave the gift of life.
The road to Washington wasn’t always an easy one. The team
battled the blazing Florida sun, trudged up treacherous Georgia
hills and even suffered a few spills along the way. Their RV driver
even ended up in the hospital after suffering the effects of an
undiagnosed heart condition. But, perhaps the most devastating blow
came seven days into the trip when Gibbs Antoine, the young cancer
patient and blood recipient who sparked Van Duzer’s passion for
blood donation, passed away at the age of six.
A month and half ago this group barely knew each other and few
had ever cycled more than 20 miles, now they share a bond like no
other. The group laughed together, cried together, saved lives
together and continues to inspire blood donors across America.
A crowd of cheering phlebotomists and donors recently greeted
George Soper as he took his spot in the Superhero corner of the
Rockledge Branch. The group was celebrating Soper donating 110
gallons. Soper began donating blood in the Navy and has been giving
blood and platelets at the Rockledge branch for the past 20 years.
Hitting 110 gallon means a lot to Soper because it means he’s
given the equivalent of two 55 gallon drums and saved more than
As a teacher Soper inspired his students to think about the act
of giving blood and it gives him great pride when he sees former
students in the blood center.
Soper says he knew a few people who received transfusions when
he was in the military, but doesn’t think people should have to be
personally impacted by a blood recipient to give the gift of life.
He says, “We don’t get the opportunity to help people that
often in our lives, to really make a difference, and they don’t
need to come up to you and shake your hand and do all of those kind
of things. You know that you made a difference in some people’s
lives and that’s what we’re here for is to make a difference in
some people’s lives and that feels great.”
Soper says his next goal is to hit 165 gallons because that will
be the equivalent of three 55 gallon drums and nearly 4,000 lives
For years Kimberly Taranowski’s life revolved around caring for
her cancer-stricken mother. After her passing, Kimberly expected
things to be difficult as she dealt with her grief. She began
losing weight and started having trouble walking and completing
every day activities. Her hair even started to fall out.
Kimberly attributed all of it to grief.
“My menstrual cycle stopped, which I thought was odd. I thought
that’s just stress or maybe I’m going through early menopause and
then I started having trouble with my feet and then my legs started
hurting. At first it felt like a tingling and then it was so
excruciating that just by having the sheet touch my legs I was in
When the symptoms persisted Kimberly began to think it wasn’t
the grief and she might be suffering from something fatal.
A series of tests revealed she was suffering from
hemochromatosis. That’s a genetic condition which causes iron to
build up in the body and can lead to heart disease and organ
Kimberly began taking medication and getting her blood drawn
about every three months.
Florida’s Blood Centers Medical Director Dr. Richard Gammon says
each milliliter of blood that is drawn contains about one milligram
of iron. Thus, when phlebotomies are done on people who suffer from
hemochromatosis, it removes the iron stores from their system,
allowing the individual to minimize the risk of developing organ
damage from having too much iron in their system.
This not only helps the hemochromatosis patient, but it helps
other patients as well. Dr. Gammon says if the hemochromatosis
patient meets blood donor eligibility requirements, their blood can
be used by patients in our local hospitals.
Though she occasionally has complications with her hands and
feet, Kimberly is doing a lot better today. She manages her
condition and takes pride in knowing she’s helping save lives with
each phlebotomy she receives.
With her dark skies, gusts of wind and torrential downpours,
Tropical Storm Debby has battered the state of Florida and strained
an already low blood supply.
Blood centers tend to struggle in the summer months because
schools are out and many people are on vacation or busy with
activities, so they don’t come in and donate blood.
Now that Debby is creating nasty weather throughout the state we
are seeing even fewer people coming into to give the gift of
Despite the reduced number of donors, accident victims, trauma
patients, cancer patients and other patients in need of
transfusions remain in our local hospitals, which means the need
for blood doesn’t hunker down during a storm.
It’s important for people to give blood before a storm hits, so
it will be on hand should a hurricane or other natural disaster
disrupt the donation process.
If a hurricane hits the state of Florida, we are fully prepared
to keep blood flowing to our local hospitals.
We have several hubs throughout the state that are able to
process blood and get it where it needs to go
Tropical Storm Debby is the first named storm of 2012 to make
its way into the Gulf of Mexico and she’s a good reminder of why we
need to add donating blood to our hurricane checklists.
A few drinks during pregnancy may be
okay, dogs may prevent childhood asthma and you may want to think
twice before reaching for the remote control in a hotel room.
According to a new study out of
Denmark…children whose mothers drank up to eight alcoholic
beverages per week during pregnancy did not have a high risk of
attention or IQ deficits than the children of women who did not
drink. However, women who consumed more than nine alcoholic drinks
were at an increased risk of having children who suffered from
attention problems. While researchers admit more studies are
necessary they do advice women abstain from alcohol during
The microbes living on your dog may
help strengthen your immune system and even prevent childhood
asthma. That’s according to a new study presented at this year’s
General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.
Researchers say bacteria found in the dust of homes with dogs may
have protective effects against RSV, a virus that increases the
chance of developing asthma. They say this is the first step in
creating a therapy to protect children from RSV and therefore
That hotel room may not be as
clean as it looks….researchers from the University of Houston found
bathroom sinks, floors, light switches and remote controls are the
top hot spots for aerobic bacteria in hotel rooms. However, this
doesn’t mean hotel rooms will make you sick. The study wasn’t
designed to test for specific pathogens that cause illness, but it
may be a good idea to wipe the surfaces down with a sanitizing wipe
Blood Donor Day
Once a year on June 14th, we honor those that give
the gift of life. World Blood Donor Day recognizes blood donors
across the planet and this year our Central Florida donors form a
human blood drop to celebrate this day made just for them.
Dozens of donors wore red t-shirts as they gathered at the
University of Central Florida eagerly awaiting their moment to
shine. They pass the time by learning their blood type and
registering for the Orlando Pint Club. At high noon they take their
place outside of Knights Plaza. Using a red ribbon as a guide they
form a human blood drop that can be seen from the ground and the
As they go their separate ways, the participants say they are
happy to be a part of the first human blood drop in Orlando. They
also say they were inspired by each others stories and are grateful
to bond with others who give the gift of life through blood
donation. Florida’s Blood Centers and the Orlando Pint Club want to
make the World Blood Donor Day human blood drop an annual event
17-year-old Joseph Nobel wouldn’t be alive
today if blood donors hadn’t saved his mother’s life before he was
born. Nobel is one of four Boys & Girls Club youth members who
will ride more than 1,000 miles on a bicycle to raise awareness for
Van Duzer Foundation President Scott Van
Duzer, will lead the children from Palm Beach to Washington D.C..
He even made arrangements for the team to meet with the U.S.
Surgeon General upon their arrival to discuss the importance of
blood donation and brain storm ideas to increase the number of
Van Duzer says he’s met many families
through his organization that have been impacted by blood
donations. In fact, his mother has received multiple units of
blood. That’s why he wanted to do something big to increase the
number of blood donors and educate the next generation about the
importance of giving blood.
Van Duzer got the idea to bike to
Washington D.C. from Larry Frederick. Frederick rode across America
on a bicycle after receiving more than 100 units of blood following
a bad accident. Frederick will be with the cyclists ever step of
the way and he says he’s proud of the ripple effect he’s
The team will stop in 30 cities over
the 30 day period to host blood drives and/or educate members of
the local Boys & Girls Club about the importance of blood
Watch Video From Day Two of the Ride
See the team compare tan lines & learn the hula as they roll
See the team take tour of Florida's Blood Centers in
See team speak to Boys and Girls Club in Flagler County
Minute May 24, 2012
If you’re a man, you may want to think twice before getting a
PSA test; walking may boost brain activity and men are living
longer than ever.
A top panel of U.S. medical experts say no man, of any age,
should routinely be screened for prostate cancer using the popular
PSA test. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says the the
risks of population-wide screening outweigh the benefits. The panel
states the test often results in false positives, and because it
can’t tell how aggressive or benign a cancer may be, doctors and
patients are often in the dark about whether the tumor requires
treatment and that PSA screening and early treatment only prevent
one prostate cancer death out of every 1,000 men screened.
A new study in the Journal of Affective Disorders found walking
for just 50 minutes can have a significant impact on both your
memory and mood. Researchers found that walking in a natural
setting improved memory by as much as 16% over those that walked in
an urban setting, but regardless of where you take a stroll…your
brain will reap the benefits.
There’s good news for men when it comes to life expectancy
according to a recent report from Institute for Health Metrics and
Evaluation. They found life expectancy for U.S. males grew by 4.6
years between the years 1989 and 2009 while predicted
lifespan for American women rose by 2.7 years. Modern men will live
to be an average age of 76.2 versus 81.3 for women.
Benefits Three Generations of Women with Heart Disease
On a warm spring evening in Central Florida, Gloria and Stephen
Boisvert sit on their deck watching their children play in the
swimming pool. The Boisvert’s treasure family moments like these
because they have been few and far between lately. Stephen is in
the military and has been overseas for more than a year, but on
this day he is home on military leave. The couple actually met in
the Army nearly 20 years ago. Gloria says it was love at first
site, “We had just arrived at a military training and I kind of got
sight of him and said oh, that’s going to be mine.”
The pair got married a year later and lived an Army lifestyle,
moving to a new location every couple of years. Eventually they
settled down and had two children- Justin and Kaitlyn. Life was
pretty hectic when Gloria began experiencing what she thought was
She said, “I kind of dismissed it to be honest with you,
initially, but as the heartburn progressed and got worse I started
to get very concerned to the point that one night it woke me from
my sleep. At that point I made the decision to visit my doctor…
Within a few minutes of the stress test my life changed forever.
It turns out; Gloria had three blocked arteries and underwent
immediate cardiac bypass surgery to make repairs.
Her family was stunned. Gloria had always been in great shape.
She ate well, exercised and was the last person they thought would
have a cardiac condition.
Gloria underwent immediate cardiac bypass surgery and when she
awoke from the operation she was surprised to see a bag of blood
hanging above her. Gloria needed several units of blood from
donors to sustain life during the operation.
She said, “I shudder to think what I would have missed out on. I
mean I have two beautiful children and I’ve watched them grow over
the last four years…this gift of life that I had that someone took
the time to give me…had I not been there I would have missed
Seven percent of all donated red blood cells and 12% of all
donated platelets goes to treat cardiac patients.
When it comes to cardiac care, every second counts. That’s a
lesson Bernice Muroski-Bown knows all too well. She is a
60-year-old Kindergarten teacher who spends her days teaching the
next generation their ABC’s and 123’s, but few doctors thought
Bernice would live to the age of one, let alone 60.
She was born with a cardiac condition called coarctation of the
aorta and was one of the first children in America to have a Teflon
graft put in. The surgery was a success. Bernice recovered well and
ws able to grow up, get married and start a family. Like Gloria,
she had a boy and a girl. Life was going pretty well until Bernice
began to feel sick. Her doctor said she probably had the flu, but
she decided to get a second opinion. While she was at the doctor’s
office the Teflon graft she had put in as a child separated from
She needed immediate blood transfusions. She said,
“If it wasn’t for that blood people donated, I wouldn’t have
had any. That blood was there waiting for me and they gave it to me
right away because until they got me into surgery, blood was
spewing out and so they were giving me blood knowing it was going
out and so they rushed me into surgery quickly, but there was a
while where it wasn’t stopping. It kept coming out, so the people
that had given me their blood, saved my life. I don’t know who they
Like Bernice, Hannah Reynolds was born with heart disease. In
fact, she was born with 10 of 35 known heart defects as well as
transposition of the organs, which means all of her organs were on
the opposite side of her body.
Her mother, Erica Shores, will never forget those terrifying
first few days of Hannah’s life. “The first week or so was really
touch and go…her levels were just not where they wanted them to be.
She did end up needing to receive O-Negative blood….Neither myself
or her father was able to do that for her, so luckily somebody was
able to provide to the bank and she recovered well and was able to
go home 28 days later.”
Two heart surgeries later, Hannah is a happy, healthy
five-year-old who enjoys coloring and playing on her swing set. Her
mother is grateful to the doctors and the blood donors that gave
Hannah the gift of life.
Gloria, Bernice and Hannah represent three generations of women
with heart disease and three generations of blood recipients
proving that blood truly is the gift of life. It spans the
generations and gives cardiac patients the promise of time.