An Emotional Reunion for Bone Marrow Recipient Donor

At a “Be Brave & Shave” fundraiser on Oct. 13, more than 50 people shaved their heads to raise money and awareness for sickle cell disease on Oct. 13 at Congregation Beth El in Bethesda, Md. Participants in the fundraiser for Children’s National Health System included parents of patients, supportive friends, family members, and Children’s National doctors and social workers. At the event, 13-year-old Jozlyn Miller, who received a bone marrow transplant at Children’s National Health System to cure her sickle cell disease, met her donor for the first time. The donor, Petra Poker, who lives in Germany, flew in especially for the event to meet Jozlyn. Poker said she registered for the bone marrow registry after she learned of the urgent need for bone marrow for patients who are African American. Watch a news story about the reunion from WJLA7. “Currently, there is a lack of African American donors in the marrow pool to treat kids,” said Dr. David Jacobsohn, Chief of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (BMT) in the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s National.  “Ms. Poker stepped up and gave the ultimate gift—she gave someone life by entering the bone marrow registry so she could serve as a match and then by going through with the procedure.” Donate to support more children like Jozlyn who need bone marrow transplants to cure sickle cell disease.      

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