A local fitness center will be among the locations Monday and Tuesday hosting an event seeking a potential bone marrow donor for a Marlboro mother of three who battling Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Retro Fitness of Hillsborough will participate along with 25 other store locations in New Jersey in a “Give Me Your Spit” drive to collect DNA from volunteers willing to swab their cheeks.
Rob Bonorna, assistant manager of the Hillsborough Retro Fitness location that opened in September, said a station will be set up in the lobby of the business in the Hillsborough Center at 649 Route 206.
Visitors will be able to swab their own cheek or ask that an employee perform the swab, he said. Brochures and other information are available on site, he said. While swabs cost $65 each to process, according to Smiles4Shira, the organization set up in September coordinate the donor-search effort, the cost for potential donors is covered by donations for this project.
A potential donor needs to be in good health and between the ages of 18 and 55. The swab will be sent to DKMS, a national data base, to see if the sample matches Shira Klein, 35, of Marlboro, Bonorna said. If there is no match, information from the swab will be entered into the data bank for any potential matches.
“The chances might be slight, but we feel it’s a good cause,” Bonorna said. “We feel connected to help someone. And it could help anyone.”
Klein was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2010. Her sister was not a match and no match was found in the national data base.
Shira and her doctors have tried several treatments to beat the cancer, but each time Shira relapsed, Smiles4Shira said on its Facebook page.
Swabbing drives have been held in New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Maryland, Florida, Texas, Washington, D.C., Illinois, Virginia, Georgia, California, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Missouri, Indiana, Alabama, and Wisconsin and are set for Arizona, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Colorado before Christmas.
In one October week, 877 people were swabbed and entered into the national registry through Smiles4Shira. An Oct. 7 drive in Marlboro got 587 people registered in one day, Smiles4Shira said.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Hodgkin's lymphoma—formerly known as Hodgkin's disease—is a cancer of the lymphatic system, part of the immune system. In Hodgkin's lymphoma, cells in the lymphatic system grow abnormally and may spread beyond the lymphatic system.
As Hodgkin's lymphoma progresses, it compromises your body's ability to fight infection. Hodgkin's lymphoma is one of two common types of cancers of the lymphatic system. The other type, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, is far more common.
Advances in diagnosis and treatment of Hodgkin's lymphoma have helped to give people with this diagnosis the chance for a full recovery, The Mayo Clinic said. The National Cancer Institute said the Hodgkin's lymphoma incidence rate was 2.8 per 100,000 men and women per year.
These rates are based on cases diagnosed in 2005-2009 from 18 geographic areas. The age-adjusted mortality rate for the disease was .4 percent per 100,000 men and women, the institute said. Other Central Jersey Retro Fitness Centers participating in the swapping event are in Edison, Flemington and North Brunswick.
On Saturday and Sunday, Let’s Yo, a frozen yogurt chain, will also host swabbing events at its stores in Florham Park, Parsippany, Franklin Township, among others.
Information on the drive to help Shira Klein, and bone marrow donation in general, can be found at https://www.facebook.com/Smiles4Shira.
This article was edited to correct information on the cost of swabs for potential donors.