By Kathy Walsh

LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4)–  An aspiring Eagle Scout in Littleton is encouraging people to “Be the Match.” Zach Mullen is hosting a bone marrow registry drive this Sunday.

It is his Eagle Scout project and it is personal. Zach’s father, Mike, has been battling leukemia.

Zach Mullen (credit: CBS)

Mike Mullen has run countless races. He has climbed 48 Colorado 14ers. But the challenge he faced in August 2016, seemed his most daunting.

(credit: Mullen Family)

“I started to feel really exhausted,” Mullen told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

Mike Mullen (credit: CBS)

Tests showed he had acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Chemotherapy started immediately at the University of Colorado Hospital.

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“I was pretty much in the hospital after that for like 45 days,” explained the software developer.

(credit: Mullen Family)

Mullen was in remission. But in April 2017, 65 rounds of chemotherapy later, the leukemia was back. Mullen needed a bone marrow transplant. His brother, Rob, was a perfect match.

Rob Mullen (credit: Mullen Family)

“I was extremely lucky,” said Mullen.

“For it to work out the way it did is just awesome,” said Zach, Mullen’s 15-year-old son.

Zach Mullen (credit: CBS)

Zach knows that is not always the case.

“There’s 14,000 people that don’t have that sibling match,” he said.

(credit: Mullen Family)

Zach hopes to give those people a chance. The teenager has been in scouting since first grade. For his Eagle Scout project, he is running a bone marrow registry drive.

“Getting on the registry is as simple as a cheek swab,” said Zach.

Maureen Mullen (credit: CBS)

Mom, Maureen, is the first to sign up.

Zach will enroll as many people, ages 18 to 44, as possible.

“I’m so proud of him,” said Mike.

“If I can save one person’s life, that would be great,” said Zach.

The drive is Sunday, Nov. 5 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Littleton United Methodist Church, 5894 S. Datura St., Littleton.

Mike Mullen (credit: Mullen Family)

There is good news. Mike Mullen is 160 days out from transplant and shows no signs of leukemia.

For more information on Zach’s drive go to: https://join.bethematch.org/zmeaglescout.

You can also register to join the Be the Match Registry any time at any Bonfils community donor center.

(credit: CBS)

In 2016, Bonfils’ Marrow program signed up more than 2,400 people in Colorado and Wyoming to the Be the Match Registry and facilitated 31 transplants. More information is at http://www.bonfils.org/marrow.

The Colorado Avalanche and UCHealth are offering cancer survivors and fans unique opportunities to join in the NHL/NHLPA’s annual Hockey Fights Cancer (HFC) initiative to honor those in the hockey community who have struggled or continue to struggle with the disease.

(credit: CBS)

Mike Mullen will be in attendance with other cancer survivors Thursday at the Avalanche’s designated HFC game, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. against the Carolina Hurricanes at Pepsi Center. For more info, go to https://www.uchealth.org/landing/hockey-fights-cancer-avalanche/.

Kathy Walsh is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 for more than 30 years. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.

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