On Monday, December 21st, HAPCOA San Antonio co-sponsored a Bone Marrow Donor Registration Event in honor of Colton Harvell, an 11 year old boy from Streetman, Texas, who is in remission with a form of leukemia.
Co-sponsors included the Bexar County Sheriff's Office, Methodist Hospital, Dee Anna Smith on Behalf of Sarah Cannon, Gencure Marrow Donor Program, Be The Match Registry, The Blood and Tissue Center Foundation and Marriott RiverCenter San Antonio.
Colton was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2012 and a bone marrow transplant was needed. A non-relative donor match was found in Germany and Colton received his life-saving transplant in April of 2013.
Colton was sworn in as an honorary Bexar County Sheriff’s Deputy for a day. He has always wanted to be in law enforcement, and he arrived at the Sheriff’s Office ready to go on Patrol with a badge, a holster, and handcuffs to include his own handcuff key.
Colton only knew he was going to sworn in as a Deputy Sheriff, he was unaware of what else he was waiting for him.
His donor, Alex Hartman, a firefighter from Germany, and his family were flown in for a surprise meeting with Colton.
Colton had written a letter for Hartman to the "Be The Match Registry," a co-sponsor of the event, and an organization to which HAPCOA has a national partnership, but he had no idea they would be meeting in person.
The relationship between HAPCOA San Antonio and Be The Match Registry began in 2011 when ICE Agent Luis Lopez reached out from the Texas Rio Grande Valley through the HAPCOA network as he was attempting to have a Bone Marrow Donor Registration Drive for his daughter Lily, who had leukemia. A drive was conducted in San Antonio and the partnership has continued, leading to a national partnership in 2015. HAPCOA, as leaders in the Hispanic community, seeks to encourage Hispanics to register as donors, as Hispanics as an ethnic group are severely underrepresented in the bone marrow donor pool. Lily, a brave young lady, sadly lost her battle with leukemia in August of 2014.
The event for Colton was a overwhelming success, with numerous persons being added to the bone marrow donor pool and bringing the spirit of unconditional sharing, and the special joy of the Christmas Season to all who witnessed the event.