Executive - Press Release

Posted on: February 16, 2018

New Castle County joins community-driven effort to find marrow donor matches for cancer patients

Members of public invited to attend match events from February 19-22 in Newark and New Castle
Watch a New Castle County TV video featuring Danny’s story at


New Castle, DE – Every three minutes one person in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer, and each year 20,000 of those patients needs a bone marrow transplant to survive. Inspired by the courage and resilience of Danny Feltwell, a local boy in need of his own life-saving bone marrow donor, New Castle County will host a free “Be The Match,” donor registration event on Thursday, February 22 from 3 – 8 pm in the New Castle County Gilliam Building, 77 Reads Way, New Castle.

Danny is in the fight of his life battling T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma — a rare and very aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Along with patients from Delaware and across the country, Danny is receiving the most advanced treatment available at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. Thanks to that world-class care and access to the national registry of stem cell/marrow donors there is real hope for Danny and others. Marrow transplants are a cure for over 80 diseases including leukemia, lymphoma, and autoimmune and genetic disorders such as sickle cell disease and 70% of these patients rely on the national Be The Match Registry operated by the National Marrow Donor Program to find their life-saving donor.

“Danny’s courage and energy and his family’s optimism for the future are an inspiration, but Danny and others need our help to give cancer patients the best chances for successful treatment,” County Executive Matt Meyer said. “Take a few minutes next week to save a life by participating in a marrow donor registration event right here in our community.”

Participation in a donor registration event is quick and easy – the process takes just 15 minutes with the completion of paperwork and a painless cheek swab. No advance registration is required to attend.

New Castle County’s February 22 match event is one of four taking place next week; three others in Newark are being organized by the University of Delaware community in conjunction with Be The Match.

Donor registration events are open to all members of the public ages 18 to 44 who are willing to donate to Danny and any other patient and also meet the registry’s medical guidelines. Because 98% of successful matches come from donors ages 18 - 44, Be The Match focuses its limited funding on this population. The organization fully covers all costs for those 18 to 44 years old. Individuals ages 45 - 60 are unable to register in person at donor registration events, however they may register online to receive a testing kit at https://join.bethematch.org/PrayForDanny. For individuals ages 45 – 60, a registration fee of $100 is required to cover the cost of the testing.

Next week’s donor registration events are as follows:


University of Delaware Star Campus
540 S. Campus Ave., Newark
10 am – 4 pm

University of Delaware Perkins Student Center
325 Academy St., Newark
Noon – 4 pm

The Retreat at Newark
501 Hamlet Way, Newark
5 – 8 pm

New Castle County Gilliam Building
77 Reads Way, New Castle
3 – 8 pm

Registered donors are listed on the Be The Match Registry until the age of 61. Registration is voluntary and participants can remove themselves at any time.

“Danny is fortunate that there is a 98 percent chance that he will find a match based on his genetic background,” said Daniel Feltwell, Danny’s Dad. “But there are other children on the same hallway as Danny from an ethnically diverse background who will have a smaller chance, and in some cases they have only a 40% chance of finding a genetic match. That’s why we are calling on everybody to step forward and be someone’s hero. As Danny says ‘All kids deserve a match.’”

Bone marrow donor registration facts:

  • Donors ages 18 to 24 provide the best chance of being a successful match, but are the demographic least likely to register and honor their commitment to donate.
  • There is an urgent need for donors with diverse ethnic backgrounds. While patients from Western European descent have as high as a 98% chance of finding a match in the Be The Match registry, African Americans, Asian Americans and the Hispanic population are less represented in the donor match database, reducing their chance of finding a match to as low as 40%.
  • Of the individuals in the Be the Match database, one in 430 will go on to donate to a patient in need.
  • Successful matches never pay to donate; all costs are covered.

“Myths regarding the donation process prevent many people from joining in the first place,” said Aimee Haskew, Be The Match Community Engagement Representative, Mid-Atlantic Region. “Many people believe the myths perpetuated by TV and movies that donating is incredibly painful with a long recovery time.” In truth, most donors donate blood stem cells in a procedure similar to a platelet or plasma donation. Marrow donation is still done about 20 percent of the time, but is completed with the donor under general anesthesia. Most donors are back to school or work within a day or two of donating. Most donors say if they were called to donate a second time they would “do it in a heartbeat”, Haskew said.


Contact: Jason Miller, Director of Communications, 302-545-1462

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