On August 25, the Cypress Police Department (CPD) joined up with local members of the California Highway Patrol to sponsor a bone marrow donor drive in the name of the six-month-old daughter of CPD Officer Matthew Charland.
Officers Give Hope was on hand to oversee the effort.
Be The Match took oral swabs to add to their international database of bone marrow donors.
Officer Charland joined the CPD on July 18 from Costa Mesa. His daughter was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) at five weeks old. This particular type of leukemia is rare and progresses quickly. Immature cells produced by bone marrow grow into abnormal white blood cells that cannot work properly and may crowd out healthy cells.
Not only is AML rare, it is unusual for a newborn girl to develop the condition.
Baby Charland is considered at high risk because of the likelihood that the disease may recur. She is currently at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, undergoing her fourth round of chemotherapy in preparation for a blood marrow transplant. Thankfully, an excellent match (“Ten out of ten!”) has been found.
Officer Charland grew up in Seal Beach and graduated from Los Alamitos High School. His wife, Aimee, is a graduate of Chino High School. They are surprised and grateful for the outpouring of support they have received from co-workers, friends and complete strangers since their daughter’s diagnosis.
John Whiteley, retired from the Orange Police Department with the rank of lieutenant, was on hand representing Officers Give Hope, a grass roots organization started in Honolulu, Hawaii, when that city’s police chief was diagnosed with leukemia. Although the chief died, the organization has grown. The local chapter was founded eleven years ago to help when Whitely was diagnoised with leukemia. (He is now in remission.) The organization has registered more than 13,000 donors and produced around fifty known matches.
According to Whiteley, the latest match was for a ten-year-old girl, saved by a guard at the Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo.
Be The Match is a national marrow donor registry that works with local groups, such as Officers Give Hope, to promote marrow donor drives, register donors and match donors to recipients.
Be the Match is sponsoring another bone marrow donor drive today at Angel Stadium from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. just outside the main gain and just inside gates 2 and 4.
Left to right: Cypress Police Officer Matthew Charland, California Highway Patrol Captain John Antillon, Cypress Police Lieutenant Rod Cox and Cypress Police Chief Jackie Gomez-Whiteley.
- Cypress Police Department sponsors bone marrow donor drive (oc-breeze.com)
- New Police Officer Introduced to Cypress Council (oc-breeze.com)
- Officers join forces to recruit colleagues as marrow donors (chron.com)
- Be The Match Registry Urges African Americans to Become Bone Marrow Donors (belifestylemagazine.com)
- Police detective among four promoting donor testing event (thestar.com)