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Bone marrow donors try to save man

Four hundred people in five months.
That’s how many Theresa Ann Felice said have been swabbed at the six bone marrow donor drives she has held – the most recent on Saturday, October 16 at the S.T.A.R.S. Youth Center in Howard Beach.
These big-hearted people have come out to help save the life of Theresa’s husband, Philip J. Felice.
On April 9, 2007, Felice, a retired Casey Stengel bus operator with the MTA, was diagnosed with large B cell Lymphoma.
After successfully undergoing chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, his Lymphoma returned in February of this year.
His only hope for survival, said his wife, Theresa Ann Felice, is a bone marrow transplant from a stranger – family members have been tested, but none is a match.
“Philip’s life lies in the hands of a complete stranger,” she said. “These past few years have been the most difficult we’ve experienced in our 34 years of marriage. We hope and pray for a match each day.”
At Saturday’s event, 13 people, including a Courier reporter, were tested.
“Not bad for a patient drive,” said Chi Nguyen of DKMS Americas, the world’s largest marrow donor center.
Nguyen explained that once you are tested, you are entered into the national registry, until you turn 61.
“If you’re not matched with Philip, you could be matched with others,” she said.
Frances Orietta Scarantino, director of S.T.A.R.S., who herself lost her husband unexpectedly, said, “I know what a difficult time this has been for Theresa and her husband. I am always willing to try to help. I try to do things like this to give back and celebrate life.”
Philip, who was on hand for the drive, was very grateful.
“I’m excited that people are helping,” he said. “I don’t know how to thank them.”
And he also thanked his wife.
“Without Theresa we’d be nothing. She’s the spark.”
If you’d like to help, register to become a donor at www.GetSwabbed.org. It is a national registry.
“If my husband doesn’t get a match, hopefully we can help someone else,” said Theresa.
If you’d like to find out more, or to donate, visit www.dkmsamericas.org.

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