Fire Commissioner and New York Blood Center Honors FDNY Bone Marrow Donors

May 5, 2017

***PRESS RELEASE***

FIRE COMMISSIONER NIGRO AND NEW YORK BLOOD CENTER HONOR FDNY BONE MARROW DONORS

At 13th Annual “Honor Roll of Life,” FDNY Members Who Donated Bone Marrow
Meet Recipients for the First Time

New York, New York (May 05, 2017) – Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro; Christopher D. Hillyer, M.D., President and CEO of New York Blood Center (NYBC); and Howard P. Milstein, Chairman of NYBC’s Board of Trustees came together today to appoint 11 FDNY bone marrow donors to the Honor Roll of Life at the 13th annual induction ceremony at FDNY Headquarters.

During the ceremony, Firefighter Robert Humphries, 30, of Engine Company 161 on Staten Island met the recipient of his life-saving bone marrow for the first time: Kyle Richardson, 14, of Deltona, FL, who was accompanied by his mother, Dawn Traynor. FDNY Emergency Medical Technician William Curley, 30, of Station 31 in Brooklyn, also met the recipient of his life-saving bone marrow, Jamie Tefft, 39, a single-mother of three daughters from Pawcatuck, CT.

“Whether it’s actions that require an immense amount of training, like fighting a fire or administering medical care to a patient in distress, or simply swabbing their cheeks to enroll in the Be The Match Registry, FDNY members do all they can to protect and save others,” said Commissioner Nigro. “We will never cease raising awareness of the need for blood and bone marrow donors at our firehouses and EMS stations, and we will continue to do all we can to support the New York Blood Center’s life-saving mission.”

“The unwavering support by FDNY, Commissioner Nigro and Mayor Bill de Blasio in partnering with New York Blood Center is a testament to our shared mission: to save human lives and be a helping hand to those in need,” said Mr. Milstein. “New York Blood Center is a nonprofit that continues, without hesitation, to maintain a superior-level of research to develop life-saving vaccines and quality blood products. The fine men and women of the FDNY are truly the best in the world, who answer the call each and every day.”

“New York Blood Center is honored to continue this tradition with the FDNY,” said Dr. Hillyer. “We are proud to help match donors with patients in need, and continue to be in awe of the FDNY members’ commitment to both blood and bone marrow donation.”


More About Firefighter Robert Humphries and Recipient Kyle Richardson

• Kyle Richardson, 14, from Deltona, FL, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a blood cancer of the lymph system. He was originally diagnosed with bronchitis after he developed a cough that grew worse while playing basketball with friends. Doctors eventually found a lump pressing on his windpipe and into his lung. After undergoing chemotherapy for six weeks and then radiation, his cancer went into remission. But after a month, the cancer returned—this time more aggressively. Kyle had the life-saving bone marrow transplant on March 18, 2016, at the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL. His road to recovery was long; after 129 days of living in an apartment near the hospital to be treated and help heal from complications, and then being homeschooled after losing almost two years of his education, he was finally able to go home. Kyle has been in remission since April 2016. His mother, Dawn, describes her son’s bone marrow donor, Firefighter Robert Humphries, as their “New York Angel,” and expresses her gratitude at his donation having saved her son’s life.

• Firefighter Robert Humphries, 30, has been a Firefighter since 2013 and serves in Engine Company 161 on Staten Island, NY. He joined the FDNY in June 2008 where he originally served as an EMT for four years at Station 43 and then in Station 40, both in Brooklyn. He signed up for the Be The Match Registry in November 2013 while training to become a Firefighter at the FDNY Academy. He was called to give life-saving bone marrow by the registry in 2015 and 2016, and both times he never hesitated. His second call would prove to be a much better match — a 13-year-old boy in Florida. “I was willing to do whatever they had asked…knowing that my bone marrow could save someone’s life,” Humphries said. “I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.” Firefighter Humphries donated bone marrow in March 2016 at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York.

More About EMT William Curley and Recipient Jamie Tefft

• Jamie Tefft, 39, of Pawcatuck, CT, is a single-mother to three daughters (ages 20, 14, and 9). She was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, a slowly progressing blood and bone marrow cancer, in July 2013. After three years of taking alternative medicines and a week of chemotherapy, doctors told Jamie that they had found a bone marrow match in the Be the Match Registry. In February 2016, she had a life-saving bone marrow transplant at Yale-New Haven Hospital, CT. The hospital staff supplying Jamie’s post-transplant care were shocked to discover — during her very first test — that her cancer was gone. Jamie’s cancer has been in remission for 15 months. “I really have to thank EMT Curley for giving me this second chance at life,” she said. “My granddaughter is going to be born in the summer and I am grateful to be here and be a part of her life.”

• EMT William Curley, 30, joined the FDNY in September, 2013 and serves at Station 31 in Brooklyn. He is currently training to become an FDNY Paramedic. He joined the Be The Match Registry during his time training at the EMS Academy at Fort Totten, NY, in 2013. Two years later, EMT Curley would be called to donate bone marrow to a patient in need. Without knowing his recipient’s name, he donated life-saving bone marrow in February 2016 at Memorial Sloan Kettering. “Be The Match really helped to walk me through the entire process,” he said. “The procedure itself was painless and I had a speedy recovery.” William has been counting down the days to when he can meet the woman whose life he helped to save.

For photos of the event, click here.

More About the FDNY/NYBC Partnership
Members of the FDNY make up New York Blood Center’s single largest group of bone marrow and stem cell donors. To date, a total of 190 FDNY members have given these gifts to patients — in some cases more than once — accounting for more than 10% of all donors from New York Blood Center. The FDNY/NYBC bone-marrow-donation partnership began in 1990. For more than 25 years, the FDNY has become the single largest group on NYBC’s bone marrow registry, with more than 8,000 FDNY members on the donor list. Probationary Firefighters, EMTs and Paramedics are encouraged to sign up for the bone marrow registry during their training. This year marks the 13th anniversary of the Honor Roll of Life. In addition to participating in bone marrow donation, FDNY members run blood drives in communities throughout the city. Last year, more than 1,800 blood donations were made at FDNY blood drives.

About New York Blood Center
New York Blood Center (NYBC) is a nonprofit organization that is one of the largest independent, community-based blood centers in the country. Founded in 1964, NYBC, along with its partner organizations Community Blood Center of Greater Kansas City (CBC) and Innovative Blood Resources (IBR), based St. Paul, Minnesota, collect approximately 3,300 units of blood products each day, serving local communities of more than 25 million people in New York, New Jersey, parts of Connecticut and Pennsylvania, the Kansas City metropolitan area, Minnesota, and Nebraska.

NYBC and its partners also provide a wide array of transfusion-related medical services, while NYBC’s National Cord Blood Program (NCBP) at the Howard P. Milstein Cord BloodCenter is home to the world’s largest public cord blood bank. NYBC is also home to a renowned research institute, which — among other milestones — led to the development of a Hepatitis B vaccine and innovative blood purification technology.

For more information please visit: www.nybloodcenter.org

About Be The Match®
For people with life-threatening blood cancers —l ike leukemia and lymphoma — or other diseases, a cure exists. Be The Match ® connects patients with their donor match for a life-saving marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant. People can contribute to the cure as a member of the Be The Match Registry®, financial contributor or volunteer. Be The Match® provides patients and their families one-on-one support, education and guidance before, during and after transplant.

Be The Match® is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), a nonprofit organization that matches patients with donors, educates health care professionals and conducts research so more lives can be saved. To learn more about the cure, visit BeTheMatch.org or call 1 (800) MARROW-2.


NYBC Media Contact:
Andrea Garcia
agarcia@prcg.com
212.683.8100