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Ebenezer Middle School teacher in need of bone marrow transplant

POSTED: January 8, 2009 3:19 p.m.
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Anthony Mastrianni is in need of a bone marrow transplant to fight a recurrence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

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Can one person make a difference? Absolutely!

Effingham County resident and middle school teacher Anthony Mastrianni needs help. Mastrianni is battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which has returned for the third time.

After undergoing three months of chemotherapy and radiation, his treatments have been stopped here in Savannah. He will now need to be treated at Emory University Medical Center in Atlanta.

Mastrianni is in a race against time to save himself and other patients like him.  He is in need of a bone marrow transplant. Since none of his family members were found to match Mastrianni closely enough to donate, he has turned to the National Marrow Donor Program.

This organization operates a registry of unrelated volunteer donors willing to donate marrow or blood cells to patients in need of a transplant.

When Mastrianni is ready for the transplant, he will have to move to Atlanta. He will be in the hospital for a while before the transplant, and the treatments will require him to live there for quite some time.

The treatments are very intense, which will require someone to be with him as well.

The cost to be placed on the bone marrow registry to start the search was approximately $8,000. This is not covered under the Mastrianni’s insurance plan. Because Mastrianni is Italian, the chances of finding a donor locally in this area is very slim.

Now, your help is needed.

A recruitment drive is being organized for the NMDP registry and eligible volunteers are needed to participate. The drive will be held at Ebenezer Middle School on Jan. 15 from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

Anyone who meets the health guidelines and is age 18 through 60 can participate. This is a completely painless process. Volunteers give a simple cheek swab that will be tested for their tissue type.

Volunteers are asked to pay a $25 laboratory fee for each test.

Funds are also being raised to defray the cost of testing those who cannot pay but are willing to join the registry, as well as other expenses the Mastriannis will incur over the next few months.

An account has been established at a local bank to accept contributions to help Mastrianni and his wife Monica. If you feel that you can help monetarily in this situation, please send your contribution to the following address:
Anthony Mastrianni Fund
The Coastal Bank
5799 Highway 21 South
Rincon, GA 31326

For years, Mastrianni has made an impact on the lives of Effingham County’s students, both as a math teacher and as a role model. Now the community has a chance to say “thank you.”

One person really can make a difference, and for Mastrianni, that one person could be you.

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