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Community raising awareness about bone marrow donations after passing of Henrico teen

HENRICO, Va. - Members of the community have come together to raise awareness about bone marrow donations after the death of a 2015 Hermitage High School graduate, according to WTVR.

D’Marco Jackson, the Virginia high school graduate whose inspirational 2015 graduation speech went viral, died early Tuesday morning, according to a post shared by his mother on Facebook.

Jackson lived with aplastic anemia, a condition in which his body stopped producing enough new blood cells. He also was diagnosed with MDS and PNH, according to a fundraising page, two different cancers that attacked his bone marrow.

Blood transfusions and chemotherapy helped Jackson live a fairly normal teenage life, for a while.

Jackson needed a unique bone marrow match because of his mixed ethnicity, but that perfect match never materialized. Experts say the more you have a mix of different ancestries, the harder it is to find a match.

Jackson’s former high school guidance counselor Jaime Conklin said D’Marco’s main goal was to make sure people didn’t end up in a similar situation like him, searching for a match.

“A lot of people don’t have a family match and him being of mixed descent, it made it that much harder,” Conklin said. “He really wanted people to know that bone marrow donation is an easy process that could save somebody’s life.”

She says family and friends want to honor Jackson by keeping the conversation going surrounding bone marrow donations. They’re hoping people will see this story and sign up at http://www.bethematch.org to get onto the registry and honor D’Marco Jackson.

“Do what he did. Live every day like you don't have another one,” Conklin said. “Live passionately, love passionately and do for others.”