Superior Court Judge Carl Fox was recently diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome. That’s a type of blood cancer in which immature blood cells in the bone marrow don’t mature into healthy blood cells.
To fight it, Fox will need a bone marrow transfusion from a healthy donor. Now the search is on for a match.
Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood is urging everyone who’s eligible to join the national marrow donor registry.
“To enter the registry, all that’s required is a couple of swabs in your mouth, dry the swabs, place them in an envelope, put them in the mail and you’re done,” says Blackwood. “We’re talking about a process that’s quicker and easier than ordering a burger and fries at Char-Grill.”
You must be between 18-55 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be willing to donate to any patient in need.
“It’s simple, it doesn’t hurt, it makes a difference and you can potentially save a life,” says Blackwood. “If not the life of our dear friend Carl Fox, then the life of somebody we’ve never met. I don’t know that one could serve their fellow man any better.”
If you are a match, the collection process is a short procedure performed at a local hospital under general anesthesia.
“When you wake up, you will have a pain in your hip much like you’d have if you slipped and fell or if somebody was to come up and give you a swift kick in the rear, which will go away in a couple of days,” says Blackwood. “The bone marrow that you give will be replenished in about 12 days.”
Fox is the Superior Court Judge for Orange and Chatham counties. He was appointed to the position by Governor Mike Easley in 2006, and won re-election last year to a term that expires in 2022.
Blackwood says he’s known Fox throughout his career, dating back to the early 1980s. He says Fox has been an inspiration to many.
“As a courtroom deputy, watching Carl operate in the courts was something admirable, the way he practiced and the love he had for the law.”
If you want to get involved, you can go online to request a kit to be sent to your house. While it costs donors nothing to submit a sample, the agencies that collect them pay $65 to process each one. Blackwood suggests those not eligible to donate consider contributing money to help defray that cost.
Ultimately, he hopes this effort extends beyond Orange County.
“The goal is to find a match for Carl, but we’re building the registry for all the other people out there who need donation as well,” says Blackwood. “So it’s a dual purpose with a single goal.”