Marquette school students show support for fellow student

Monday, May 6th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Bone marrow transplants save thousands of lives every year. But many of those needing a transplant can't get one because there aren't enough donors.

Students at Tulsa's Marquette School held a blood drive Monday to bring awareness to that need because one of their own needs a bone marrow transplant to stay alive. News on Six reporter Patrina Adger says the line was long at Marquette school's gymnasium but well worth the wait.

Folks rolled up their sleeves to help bone marrow recipients like 14 year old William Devonshire. "It's awesome." At three years old, William was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. He was in remission for almost 12 years and lived a normal, active life. Until a blood test in March revealed William's worst nightmare, the leukemia had come back. Eric Devonshire, Williams father, "And the doctors were perplexed because after 11 1/2 years it just , they're not thinking it's a relapse they're truly thinking he was cured." Eric says his son has gone through weeks of chemotherapy.

And his classmates have been by his side through it all. "His first two days in the hospital at St. Francis, his whole 8th grade class was pretty much in the room with him." They're too young to give blood but they're showing support it other ways. By wearing wristbands with William's nickname, 'WD-40.' Jeff Scardino, William's best friend, "WD, stands for William Devonshire and the 40 stands for his old football number."

Some of his buddies have even shaved their heads. Showing him that he's not fighting the battle alone. Killian Bryce, William's friend, "I got everybody together after school and we talked about shaving our hair off." Jake Jorishie, William's friend, "I wanted to be nice, I thought it would be good for him." Beau Jenkinson, William's friend, "I needed to get rid of it anyways, it's summer time." "I thought it was hilarious they were gonna all shave their heads."

Eric says there's a desperate need for bone marrow donors. And he hopes blood drive like this one will bring awareness to that need. That it only takes a little blood, to save a life.

Last week, William learned that an unknown donor is a perfect match. Tuesday, William and his family will head to St. Judes' Hospital in Fort Worth to prepare for next week's surgery.