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Woman Holds Bone Marrow Drive In Honor Of Her Husband

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Mark and Darlene (credit: CBS)

Mark and Darlene (credit: CBS)

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DENVER (CBS4) – She lost her husband while he waited to find a bone marrow donor, and now a Denver woman is keeping his memory alive by helping others find their bone marrow match.

“I just want to keep him as close to my heart as I can for as long as I can,” Darlene Ashley-Jenkins said of her late husband, Mark Jenkins.

Ashley-Jenkins holds her now deceased husband’s dog tags close to her heart. Mark Jenkins passed away in January. He had been waiting for a bone marrow match.

“He was diagnosed with myelofibrosis, which is leukemia of the bone marrow,” Ashley-Jenkins said. “He had complications during a stem cell transplant and he passed away.”

Nearly four months since his death, Ashley-Jenkins is still fighting for bone marrow donors in Mark’s memory. She’s hosting a bone marrow registry drive Sunday so others in need can find their match before it’s too late.

“He certainly wouldn’t want me not to.”

“Joining the Be The Match registry is simple quick and painless. We just have people fill out a short health history, sign a consent form, and they just take a small tissue sample by swabbing the inside of their cheek,” Tiffany Anderson with the Bonfils Blood Center said.

Mark and Darlene Jenkins with their daughter, Megan (credit: The Jenkins family)

Mark and Darlene Jenkins with their daughter, Megan (credit: The Jenkins family)

The event is highly supported by Bonfils Blood Center. They know the importance of getting people on the registry, especially minorities.

“Minorities are under represented on the registry. Currently African-Americans represent only about 7 percent of the more than 10 million people,” Anderson said.

“You’re best chance at a successful match is within your ethnic background,” Ashley-Jenkins said.

Even though she lost her husband, Ashley-Jenkins hopes her efforts can help someone else find their match. It’s what Mark would want her to do.

The bone marrow drive will take place Sunday morning at 10 a.m. at the Off Broadway Cafe. Visit bonfils.org for more information.

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