OCEAN CITY — The Harrison Group community was recently rocked when it learned one of its own is currently fighting for her life against Acute Myelogenous Luekemia (AML).
According to an email seeking help that was widely distributed this week, Colleen Rutzler, whose husband, Eugene serves as the general manager of Reflections, immediately began treatment at Johns Hopkins late last year and the search for a bone marrow donor match was launched.
The good news is a match has been found, but funding is needed to assist with the financial strains the disease has caused the family.
On Friday, April 8 at the Harrison Harbor Watch, along with many people who care about the family, a bone marrow drive will be held in her honor from 11:30 a.m. till closing. Owners John and Hale Harrison have offered to donate 50 percent of the food and beverages sold that day to the Rutzler family to help assist them in the economic challenges they are facing. A Chinese auction and a 50/50 raffle will be held to raise money as well.
According to organizers, there are three ways to help — come out for lunch or dinner on April 8 (call 410-289-5122 to make reservations for large parties); register as a donor; and donate in Rutzler’s honor to the Be The Match Bone Marrow Drive.
Through her personal page at bethematchfoudnation.org, Rutzler, 42, details her journey.
“I have a mutation of AML that requires a bone marrow transplant. After receiving mega doses of chemotherapy I have had many side effects and complications,” she said. “While three of my brothers are 50% matches, they didn’t have the correct strain of antigens. A fourth brother is a 100% match but has had some issues with the transplant. During the two weeks until his mind was changed, my family and I were anxiously in need of a donor. We are having this drive so others don’t have to go through the anxiety of finding a bone marrow donor match. Please consider saving a life; it only takes a cheek swab.”
To join the registry, you must be between the age of 18 and 60 and in good health. Your inner cheek will be swabbed with four long Q-tips and a consent form must be filled out.
For more information about next month’s event, call Kim Mueller at 973-219-6012 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.