Cook Co. hosts marrow registry drive to raise awareness - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Cook Co. marrow registry drive aims to find match for officer with cancer

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The Cook County Sheriff's Office hosted a marrow donor registry drive on Tuesday, in honor of a fellow sheriff who is fighting a rare form of cancer.

Many Cook County employees came out to put their names on the bone marrow registry to see if they could be of help to those who need a transplant to survive.

The sheriff's office called on members of their 7,000 employee force to find a match for Sgt. Encarnacion Roldan, a 28-year veteran correctional officer, who was diagnosed with Peripheral T-Cell Lymphoma in September of 2012.

Sgt. Roldan needs a bone marrow transplant to save his life.

But he told FOX 32 News that Tuesday's drive isn't only for him – it's to raise awareness that the registry is lacking in Latino and African American donors. He said cancer knows no skin color.

"We're hoping to get as many people as possible to come out and save someone else's life, including mine," he said.

Roldan says the registry needs to be enhanced to save as many lives as possible, even if it can't save his.

"From this experience I've learned a lot and one of the main things I've learned is there's not enough Latinos, African American people who are on the national registry," Roldan says. "This cancer does not know race or color or culture. It just hits people hard and aggressively."

Sgt. Roldan's mixed cultural backgrounds have made it tough for him to find a match and many others like him.

"I didn't even know until he got sick and what he was going through that this was really, really…that you can give a little bitty ounce, part of your body and save somebody's life? It's really important," Officer Pamela Walker says.

Basic information and health backgrounds were taken from a number of the sergeant's colleagues and then swabs taken from their cheeks.

Sergeant Roldan says he's hoping a match will come through, but he still has another round of chemotherapy to go through. After that, he's looking forward to getting back to his life.

If you'd like to join the registry, all you need to do is provide contact information, answer a few questions about your health background and submit a cotton swab for their database. The registry accepts those between the age of 18 and 44.

You can visit three locations across Cook County to join on Tuesday:

  • Daley Center until 2 p.m.
  • Maywood Sheriff's headquarters until 5 p.m.
  • 26th and California until 9 p.m.

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