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Kenechi Udeze and the National Marrow Donor Program

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Some of you may remember that Kenechi Udeze was diagnosed with leukemia in February. The Vikings have been good enough to put him on the reserve/non-football illness list, which means that he can pursue treatment without going broke in the process.

SBN's Vikings blog, the Daily Norseman, has noted that Udeze has the good fortune of having found a match from his brother for a bone marrow transplant, which will give him a fighting chance of recovery. The folks at the Daily Norseman also noted that maybe 30% of leukemia patients who need a bone marrow transplant are able to find a match from the National Marrow Donor Program, and are encouraging people to consider registering as a potential donor, or to donate money to support research into treatment of leukemia.

Beyond basic human concern, this is a subject that I find compelling because my father-in-law was diagnosed with leukemia about 11 years ago. He needed a bone marrow transplant, but did not match at all with any family members - however, he got as near to a perfect match as possible via the registry, and was able to undergo treatment. It's a hellacious process and kicked his ass seven ways to Sunday - he was able, just and no more, to come to our wedding a couple of months after the transplant and was being mistaken for my wife's grandfather, not her father. But he's been in remission ever since, and is active in his teaching and life in a way that I should be emulating, frankly.

If you can see your way to helping out, please do - but I will pass on the one caution that we received from the Donor Registry people back when my father-in-law was diagnosed, which is this: if you have any reservations about making a donation, don't sign up. About the only thing as bad for a leukemia patient than no match at all, is a match from someone who has changed their mind about donating.

In the meantime, our best wishes for successful treatment and recovery go out to Kenechi Udeze and his family, and a tip of the hat goes to the Daily Norseman for encouraging Vikings fans to help.