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Health Team

Judge uses diagnosis to spur blood donor registry

Posted July 16, 2015

A special bone marrow donor drive this weekend could save the life of a local superior court judge.

Sixty-one-year-old Superior Court Judge Carl Fox is fighting a blood cancer, myelodysplastic syndrome, which has kept him out of the court room and spending more time at the North Carolina Cancer Hospital in Chapel Hill.

Fox said his only hope was to find a matching bone marrow donor, so he decided to keep fighting.

“Because a successful match is often times based on heritage, it is especially important for African Americans to join the registry,” Dr. Allen Mask of WRAL’s Health Team said. “Now they only make up seven percent of the total [bone marrow donor registry pool].”

Fox’s organization “Delete Blood Cancer,” began a campaign called “Save the Fox,” in effort to further the search for someone who can help the superior court judge.

In local businesses, churches and community centers, potential donors fill out a form and swab both cheeks for DNA samples. The test takes about five minutes, according to Bob Murray of Delete Blood Cancer.

If patients are a match, in most cases, it only involves a blood draw to extract stem cells.

“Even if it were just a little painful, it isn't often that you have the opportunity to save someone's life,” Fox said.

Fox said he hopes a match will be found to help him, but he is also motivated to improve the odds of finding future donors, of any ethnicity, so others with myelodysplastic syndrome can have a lifesaver of their own.

The Bone Marrow Donor Drive for Superior Court Judge Carl Fox will be held Friday and Saturday at University Place in Chapel Hill.

Participants must be at least 18, no older than age 55 and in good health.

Former UNC basketball star Phil Ford will be on hand to help register donors and sign autographs.

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