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Judge gives thanks to supporters during cancer fight

Posted December 23, 2015

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— The holiday season is a time for giving, but for a North Carolina Superior Court judge, it is also a time for giving thanks.

Carl Fox, 61, was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome last April. Doctors found that he was losing weight and energy because his bone marrow had stopped producing healthy blood cells.

This past summer, Fox made a big push for people, especially blacks, to get on the blood marrow donor registry. An inmate even offered to help the judge.

Although he went public with his fight and raised awareness across the Triangle, Fox was not able to find a perfect donor match.

"You have your dark days," he said recently.

Instead, Fox received a transplant using umbilical cord blood.

He hopes to return to work sometime after the first of the year and gives thanks to the community for rallying behind him.

"I've never felt so grateful to see a Thanksgiving in my life," he said. "I never said it, but I didn't know if I'd be alive."

Friends, family, community members and supporters sent Fox hundreds of greeting cards filled with well wishes.

"I didn't know what to say," he said. "I never expected such a response."

Julia Kemp Smith, Fox's girlfriend, said the kind words, many from strangers, offered a sense of hope.

"The support and sharing of stories and for someone to just say, 'This is normal...this too shall pass,' has been extremely important to me," Smith said.

"It really makes you appreciate, just life," Fox said.

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  • Charis Ober Jan 5, 2016
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    Just wonderful to see how well Judge Fox is doing post-transplant! Going back to work soon and helping more cancer patients in the process through #SaveTheFox drives. It is wonderful to see how cord blood has helped yet another person! This is another reason why donating your baby's cord blood is so important. Learn more about how cord blood is used at http://www.savethecordfoundation.org/ We have a list of hospitals that offer public cord blood donation programs as well as lists of hybrid banks that offer public cord blood collection as an option for those hospitals that do not offer this service. Give life twice. Save the cord.