YORK UNIVERSITY HOSTS BONE MARROW TESTING CLINIC FOR LEUKEMIA PATIENT
TORONTO, November 4, 1996 -- York University will be the site of a clinic for bone marrow testing aimed at finding a match for a young man diagnosed with leukemia.
Frank Ronco, 27, of Scarborough, needs a bone marrow transplant in order to save his life. In the hopes of finding a match, members of Ronco's family and students in the York University Italian Association are organizing a "Fight for Frank" clinic. The clinic will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 6 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at York University's East Bear Pit, Ross Building, on the York campus at 4700 Keele Street in North York.
Until recently, Frank Ronco lived an outwardly ordinary life. A lifelong Metro Toronto resident, Ronco got married last year to Leigh Puddephatt. But for Ronco, life is now anything but ordinary. Four months ago, doctors told him that he needed a bone marrow transplant to survive. His life now revolves around daily trips to Princess Margaret Hospital for chemotherapy treatments. Organizers are hoping Ronco will be well enough to attend the clinic at York on Wednesday.
"It's so crucial for Frank to find a match," said Sally Kirke, Frank's cousin and one of the 60 people from his close circle of family and friends organizing clinics they hope will produce a match for him. "The clock is ticking for him, so we're working together to try to do that." Kirke said doctors predict an 80-to-85 per cent chance of survival for Ronco if he receives a bone marrow transplant. Without one, he faces a 25-to-30 per cent chance of survival. No match has been found in his family.
Researchers say that Frank, who is Italian Canadian, is most likely to find a match from another person in the Italian community. His father, Tony, is originally from Malito, Cosenza, and his mother, Pierina Teresi, is from Palermo, Sicily. Organizers are asking people of all ethnic groups, however, to participate in testing.
Paola De Libero, a York University student and member of the York University Italian Association, said her group has pitched in to try to spread the word to the large population of students of Italian descent at York. "This is a very personal thing for us, and we want to help out a member of our community in a time of need," she said. "We are expecting many students to come out and give of their own time to be tested."
Everyone who is tested will be added to the list of the Canadian Unrelated Bone Marrow Donor Registry run by the Canadian Red Cross. Even if people are not a match for Frank, they may be a match for someone else. There are currently six other families waiting to find donor matches, Kirke said. Recently, an unrelated match was found for a boy in North Bay.
The first Fight for Frank clinic was held on Nov. 3 in Scarborough. Another is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 24 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Montecassino Place, 140 Jevlan Dr., Woodbridge.
The chances of finding an unrelated bone marrow match are only about 1 in 20,000. Because each test costs the Ronco family $50, they are also seeking tax deductible donations. Cheques should be made payable to: Elizabeth Lue Memorial Fund (Frank), 7 Cromdale Ridge, Woodbridge, Ontario, L4L 8C9.
For more information, call:
Mary Ann Horgan
|| Welcome to York University | Latest Release | Release Archives ||