A cyclist is pedaling thousands of miles for a good cause.
Steve Matchett is traveling the length of the Mississippi River to raise awareness and promote bone marrow donations for the Be the Match Foundation and the Hendrick Marrow Program.
He stopped by the Mississippi Blood Services collection center in on Thursday.
Matchett started his journey at Lake Itasca in Minnesota, where the river begins, and hewill continue until the road ends in south Louisiana. He travels 50 to 55 miles per day, sometimes more depending on where the next hotel is.
At each stop, donors sign the bike, which will be donated to the Hendrick Marrow Program, which will auction it off.
“This is simply to raise awareness of the national need for a bone marrow donation,” Machett said.. “So people need to register, which is a very, very simple process.”
To register online, go to www.bethematch.org or visit a Mississippi Blood Services collection center in your area.
The organization will mail to those who sign up a swab kit. The person then swabs inside the cheek to collect a DNA sample. The sealed sample is returned to the organization. If a marrow patient is a match, the donor will be notified and can then undergo the extraction procedure.
“They were doing blood donations at the Greenville Mall,” said Andy Sanders, a marrow donor, “and there was a booth set up by the local Be the Match registry. And just on the way out, they asked if I'd like to sign up, and I did.”
Sanders said he thought they wouldn’t call him, but five years after he registered, he was informed that a patient match had been found.