When tragedy strikes, so often we wonder what can we do? Many times the answer is nothing.  This time is different.  By attending this Saturday's  Bone Marrow Registration Drive you could save the life of a young Lancaster boy.  Yes, you could make a difference.

Eleven-year-old Austin Bonefede is one of three children born to Bob and Kym Bonefede.  Their story is no stranger to many folks in Lancaster.  Austin was a normal kid who attended public schools and played baseball until he was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia  on December 5th, 2009.  (Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, AML, is an aggressive form of cancer that attacks blood and bone marrow.)   His mom remembers it was a Saturday, the day their lives changed.

Austin immediately began a regimen of chemotherapy treatment at Roswell Park  that eventually lead to a bone marrow transplant in April of 2010.  Sadly, it didn't work out and he is need of another.

Doctors recommend a donor with Italian and/or Polish heritage, although everyone is welcome.  (Austin's last donor was near perfect match and she was a combination of several different ethnic backgrounds, so you never really know.) 

All you really need to do is show up for the registration drive this Saturday.  A simple swab of your cheek is all it takes to be registered.  Total time, about five minutes.

What happens if you are a match?  Doctors say the procedure to donate bone marrow is very non-invasive with little to no downtime required.

The Bone Marrow Registration Drive will be held tomorrow (Saturday May 19th) from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at the William Street School  (Multipurpose Room), 5201 William Street, Lancaster, NY.

Austin really needs your help.  He would have been sixth grader this year at William Street had the unthinkable not happened.  Instead, he hasn't been able to attend a full day of school for quite some time now.  Austin was scheduled to be in my son's 5th grade class last school year, but he was only able to attend classes for a few half days throughout the year.   Hospitals visits have become more common place than ballparks, parties and time spent with friends.  You may be the one to help Austin get back to the business of being a boy again. 

Austin is pictured above with hims mom (Kym), 16-year-old brother (Tyler)  and   9-year-old sister (Alexandra).  I'm sure his dad (Bob) was behind the camera.

For more information on the Bone Marrow Drive for Austin Bonefede check out the event on Facebook.   

You can also find out more about being a donor by clicking here.