Philip Felice is fighting for his life and the New Hyde Park resident got some help from City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens), state Senate candidate Tony Avella and about 20 others during a bone marrow blood drive Saturday at the Curves gym in Glen Oaks.
Felice, a retired bus operator, was diagnosed with a fast-growing form of lymphoma in 2007.
He underwent a successful stem cell transplant and chemotherapy, but the cancer returned in February.
Felice’s wife, Theresa Ann, spearheaded the blood drive along with Avella, who met Theresa Ann about a month ago while campaigning at the Glen Oaks Shopping Center.
Swabs were taken from the 20 or so people who showed up to the event to determine if they were compatible donors for Felice or any other person in need of a bone marrow transplant.
“When you take the swab, the test is done to see if you’re not just a match for Philip, but for anyone else in the donor bank,” Avella said.
Felice could not be reached for comment.
“It’s great to see people come out and offer themselves as prospective donors,” Avella said. “The key is outreach. You can save people’s lives by doing this.”
Another drive is being planned for late September.
Weprin said Saturday’s event “was a chance to encourage people to show up and get tested for the bone marrow registry. In some cases, it’s the difference between life or death.”
“I think most human beings, if they’re eligible, would be happy to be on this list,” he said of prospective donors.
Weprin said the chance that those who were tested Saturday would compatible for Philip is low, with close relatives being the best case for a match.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
©2010 Community News Group
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