DENVER (CBS4) – All it takes is a simple swab of the cheek to give hope to a blood cancer patient. That puts people on a national registry and that could save a life.

CBS4 health specialist Kathy Walsh had the swab done years ago. She said it took about 10 minutes.

“I filled out some paperwork and had the cheek swab,” Walsh said. “I’ve never been called to help a leukemia or lymphoma patient, but I’ve met people desperately searching for a match, including one very determined couple from Denver.”

In 2007, Marie Brady and Joe Alpers shared a beautiful beach wedding. Now their dogs and cats are their “hairy” children. Their 118-year-old Denver home is their labor of love as a restoration project.

“We love the neighborhood, we love the house,” Alpers said.

But in October their comfortable world was suddenly rattled.

“It really does feel surreal, like it’s not really happening to me,” Brady said.

Brady was diagnosed with a rare type of leukemia and the prognosis is painful.

“Worst case scenario 3 years,” Brady said.

“When someone tells you that your wife has 3 years to live, that can be a little difficult,” Alpers said.

Brady’s only hope for a cure is a bone marrow transplant. Of the 9 million donors on the National Marrow Donor Program, none is a perfect match. But Brady stays positive.

“It just feels like it’s meant to be, you know, that there’s just somebody out there,” Brady said.
space Denver Couple Determined To Find A Marrow Match

The couple has been helping train friends to run marrow drives and they’ve set up drives of their own. They explain registering with a simple cheek swab is fast and painless and important.

“This is a way for you to save somebody’s life and you don’t have to don spandex and a cape,” Brady said.

Brady and Alpers are determined.

“We kind of have this belief that we don’t know what the magic number is, but at some point, whether it’s 500 or 5,000, the universe is going to give us our match,” Alpers said.

The more donors, the better the chances of finding a match for Brady and the thousands of others suffering from blood cancers. People age 18 to 60, in general good health, are needed to join the Be The Match Registry.

Signing up easy. This Friday is “A Day 4 Life” marrow drive. Join Bonfils Blood Center and CBS4 from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. at selected Safeway stores. Those stores are at 14th and Krameria in Denver; Broadway and Mineral in Littleton; and at Thornton Parkway and Washington Street in Thornton. Register to be a bone marrow donor or make a tax deductible donation.

map4 Denver Couple Determined To Find A Marrow Match

Comments (8)
  1. Debbie Rivera says:

    Marie and Joe, I love you guys so much! I wish I could be there with you. You two are such wonderful people and I am so lucky to have you in my life. Marie, you are constantly on my mind and in my prayers, I just know everything is going to be okay, and you and Joe will grow older together. I love you! Your sister, Debbie

  2. AJ says:

    Hi Marie, had a chance to see the story about you and your husband on CBS 4 News tonight. My encouragement, besides looking for a donor, go all out with nutrition and exercise to enable yourself to overcome this. I recommend having a fresh juice twice a day, one being a green drink — carrot, celery, kale, collard greens, spinach and parsley and the other carrot, apple, red beet. And get your body in motion, at least 5 out of 7 days a week. … AJ

  3. Pat Jackson says:

    Time to post this and spread the word!

  4. Bryan Wilkens says:

    My prayers are with you every day.

  5. Andrea & Chad says:

    I saw your story on the news last night, and for whatever reason, you and your husband reminded me of my boyfriend and myself. We are both going to Safeway in Thornton this Friday to register – with hopes to help you and many others. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Never lose hope!

  6. Deb (Jaz) Antill says:

    Please everyone, the cheek swab is the simplest thing you could do to possibly save a life. Marie–I love you sistah.

  7. Jaki Bent says:

    I am from the UK – and would be happy to be tested for you. In 2009 I was a really close match for someone – in the end sadly I wasn’t needed. However I have had the in depth testing done on my blood – so there should be a record here in the UK. My blood type is B- ~ If there is any possibility that I am a match, please let me know and I will be there ~ Wishing you all the best ~ Jaki 🙂

  8. Trojan RC Plane says:

    hello!,I love your writing so much! share we keep up a correspondence more approximately your post on AOL? I require an expert in this area to resolve my problem. May be that is you! Looking ahead to see you.

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