April 29, 2016
New York, New York (April 29, 2016) – 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 joined today to add the names of eight FDNY bone marrow donors to the Honor Roll of Life at the 12th annual induction ceremony at FDNY Headquarters.
During the ceremony Firefighter Fredrick Perdue, 46, of Engine Company 67 in Washington Heights met the recipient of his life-saving bone marrow, Jonathan Lamont Ragland, 35, a father of two from Louisville, Kentucky; and Firefighter Michael Wilson, 36, of Ladder Company 166 in Brooklyn met the recipient of his life-saving bone marrow, Amy Alcorn, 47, a of mother of a 20-year-old daughter from Erie, Pennsylvania.
“I am immensely proud of every FDNY member on our Honor Roll of Life for displaying true courage and compassion by saving the life of another through a bone marrow donation,” said Commissioner Nigro. “The need for bone marrow donors is deeply personal for the FDNY, as far too many of our members have bravely battled debilitating bone and blood cancers, especially since September 11th. Thousands more active and retired FDNY members stand ready to donate whenever a match with someone in need is found.”
“The remarkable men and women of the FDNY always answer the call,” said Mr. Milstein. “New York Blood Center is a nonprofit with a mission to save lives through our blood-related products and research -- and in that regard we could have no better partner than the FDNY.”
“Most bone marrow recipients never get the opportunity to meet their donors, which makes the Honor Roll of Life ceremony a special event for all involved,” said Dr. Hillyer. “The brave men and women who continue to be a part of the Be The Match® program carry on a tradition that dates back more than a decade. We are very honored to be partnered with the FDNY, and so thankful for their continued support.”
More than 8,000 FDNY members – more than 10% of all NYBC donors - are on the potential donor list and 179 members have already given this life saving gift to those in need. “In the FDNY – that’s our core mission – protecting life – and we measure our success in lives saved” added Commissioner Nigro.
“It’s a noble act to donate to help another, and it speaks to the core values that define our Department,” said Chief of Department James E. Leonard.
FDNY has been part of the Be The Match initiative over 20 years, reuniting donors with their recipients during the Department’s annual induction ceremony. “At least once a month it seems the Blood Center has a presence here at headquarters, and there are always signs and posters throughout the building alerting everyone of the next opportunity to donate, so it’s a true partnership in every way”, said Commissioner Nigro.
In 2010 Amy Alcorn from Erie, Pennsylvania received a peripheral stem cell donation from Firefighter Michael Wilson of Ladder 166 in Brooklyn. Ms. Alcorn was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and had been undergoing chemotherapy while awaiting a donor. “I’m honored to meet Mike today” said Ms. Alcorn. “I feel very blessed. Everything has come full circle. I have such high respect for anyone in service, and for him to take the time to donate means so much to me.”
“I’m looking forward to meeting her” said FDNY Firefighter Wilson. “It feels good to know that I played a part in saving her life, and that she gets to now carry on life with her daughter. If I got called again, I’d do it all over again without question.” Firefighter Wilson joined the Be The Match Registry as a Probationary Firefighter in 2003 and donated peripheral stem cells in 2010 after being notified that he was a match.
Firefighter Fredrick Perdue from Engine 67 in Washington Heights joined the Be The Match Registry in 1993, but wasn’t matched until 20 years later. “When I found out that I would be able to help, I was so happy. And then to hear that the process worked out and that he’s doing well, it’s wonderful. I’m very excited to meet him” said Firefighter Perdue. Jonathan Lamont Ragland of Louisville, Kentucky was diagnosed with thrombocythemia, a rare and chronic blood disorder. Mr. Ragland was in need of a transplant when he was matched with Firefighter Perdue. “I’m very grateful to him. “He has given me the opportunity to see my kids grow up” said. Mr. Ragland. “He’s already in the business of saving lives, so I’m not surprised that he decided to be a donor. It goes hand in hand with what being a Firefighter is all about.”More About Firefighter Fredrick Perdue and Recipient Jonathan Lamont Ragland
- Jonathan Lamont Ragland, 35, was a junior in high school when he was diagnosed with essential thrombocythemia, a rare chronic blood disorder. His father, Larry, passed away from a similar illness in April, 2001. Jonathan was hospitalized in 2006 when his condition worsened, and underwent multiple chemotherapy treatments while he prepared for a transplant if a match could be found. On September 7, 2013, that life-saving transplant took place at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Jonathan feels he is a “truly blessed man” and credits Firefighter Perdue’s donation with allowing him to be “able to take care of his children (Jayla, 7, and Braylon, 6), take them to school, play football with his son and do many things that he was not sure he would be able to do.”
More About Firefighter Michael Wilson and Recipient Amy Alcorn
- Firefighter Fredrick Perdue, 46, joined the FDNY in April, 1998, after serving in the United States Marine Corps (USMC). Firefighter Perdue joined the Be The Match Registry in 1993 as a member of the USMC, and later rejoined as a Probationary Firefighter at the FDNY Training Academy on Randalls Island. Twenty years after he first enrolled, he was contacted by the New York Blood Center (NYBC) and informed he was a potential match for a patient desperately in need of a transplant. Firefighter Perdue donated peripheral stem cells in September, 2013 at NYBC.
- Amy Alcorn, 47, was diagnosed in February, 2010 with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). She began chemotherapy in March while the search for a donor began. After months of painful treatment and multiple hospital visits throughout Pennsylvania, Amy travelled to Pittsburgh for her transplant, which she described as “quick and painless.” Today, she continues to improve and is grateful for the time she is able to spend with her daughter, Chelcie.
More About the FDNY/NYBC Partnership:
- Firefighter Michael Wilson, 36, joined the FDNY in September, 2003 and joined the Be The Match Registry as a Probationary Firefighter at the FDNY Training Academy on Randalls Island, where his instructors told him, “It is something we all do.” In 2010, a call from NYBC notified Firefighter Wilson that he was a match for a female patient in need of a transplant. He donated peripheral stem cells at NYP/Weill Cornell Medical Center in June, 2010.
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 179 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. Over the past 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 are encouraged to sign up for the bone marrow registry during their training at the Fire Academy on Randall’s Island. This year marks the 12th anniversary of the Honor Roll of Life. In addition to participating in bone marrow donation, FDNY members run blood drives throughout the community. Last year, more than 2,100 blood donations were made at FDNY blood drives.About New York Blood Center:
New York Blood Center (NYBC) is one of the largest independent, community-based blood centers in the country. Each year, NYBC provides approximately one million blood products to nearly 200 hospitals in the Northeast. NYBC also provides a wide array of transfusion-related medical services. NYBC is also home to the world’s largest public cord blood bank, which provides stem cells for transplant in many countries, and a renowned research institute, which – among other milestones – developed the Hepatitis B vaccine and an innovative blood purification technology. For more information, visit: www.nybloodcenter.org About Be The Match®:
For people with life-threatening blood cancers—like 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.
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