Transplanting hope — one swab at a time

Be The Match 5K to be held this Saturday at Treasure Island Park

By Melanie Yingst -

MIAMI COUNTY — A life can be saved one Q-Tip at a time.

Be The Match organization will be swabbing cheeks of potential life savers who attend the first “The Buckeye” Be The Match 5K event beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17 at Treasure Island Park. The event is open to the public to join in the fun, fellowship and will focus on the life saving efforts a simple cheek swab can have for someone diagnosed with blood cancer.

All proceeds from the 5K and its events will go to the organization which helps patients afford transplant costs, grow its registered donor list to find more potential matches and fund research related to blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma.

Be The Match is part of the National Bone Marrow registry, from which Casstown’s Lisa Kendall-Maxson received help during her own transplant nearly five years ago..

The stem cells from two umbilical cords were harvested and transplanted and ultimately saved Lisa’s life. Council member Tom Kendall’s daughter Lisa was given the all clear and declared cancer-free by her team of doctors last month.

“Be The Match is the one-stop search for the match and they help fund part of the transplant process as well as the harvesting,” Lisa shared.

The organization pays for many of the testing and medical procedures to harvest the bone marrow or stem cells for both the patient and the donor. For example, Lisa shared the transportation costs for the two umbilical cords needed for her treatment cost $80,000. The Be The Match organization paid for the entire transportation costs associated with her transplant.

“I didn’t have to worry about that cost,” she said. “That’s the reason I’m living because of that transplant.”

A representative from Be The Match organization will be at the 5K event to help educate and swab potential donors. The guidelines for donors can be found online at

Lisa shared how she knows two local people who have been bone marrow matches and donors through the organization.

“It’s so cool to know living heroes like them here in Miami County,” she said.

Although she doesn’t have firm numbers, Lisa shared how the Miami County area has several people diagnosed with blood cancers and she recently heard news of two people getting similar diagnosis and treatment in the last month.

“It’s so amazing what they can do and that’s why it’s so important for donors to get on the registry,” she said. “If you think about it, it’s giving a day or two of your life (of the donor) for someone else to live a full life.”

Register to walk through Thursday online at

Walk-up registrations will also be accepted the day of the race beginning at 9 a.m.

“This is a growing a year,” she said. She said local teams have raised nearly $5,000 of its $10,000 goal. All proceeds will go directly to the Be The Match organization.

The Buckeye 5K events will begin at 9 a.m. with a recognition ceremony for all donors, survivors and current patients waiting for their transplants. The “Tot Trot” will begin at 10 a.m. with the 5K and a 1K “fun run” to follow. Entertainment will be provided by Salsa City and Rum River Blend. Along with the registry, door prizes, race awards and other family-friendly entertainment will be available at the park grounds next Saturday.

To donate, volunteer or to learn more about The Buckeye Be The Match 5K in Troy, contact Kendall-Maxson at (937) 875-0708 or email Tom Kendall at

Be The Match 5K to be held this Saturday at Treasure Island Park

By Melanie Yingst

Reach Melanie Yingst at or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews

Reach Melanie Yingst at or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews