Virginia Beach teacher donates bone marrow, honoring student who survived cancer

Gretchen Curtin (Red Mill Elementary School)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – After learning that she was a bone marrow match for a patient in New York City, Red Mill Elementary School preschool teacher Gretchen Curtin traveled to New York for the stem cell bone marrow donation.

“The process is much like donating platelets — not bad at all,” Curtin said. “I was happy to be able to help.”

This was all possible because of a “Be the Match” swab event Red Mill Elementary held in October of 2016 in honor of one of its students, Abby Furco. Curtin participated, and was notified in May 2019 that she was a match.

At the time of the swab event, Abby had already had a bone marrow transplant for Pre-B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

The National Marrow Donor program found a perfect match from an unrelated man in Germany, who agreed to help with Abby’s treatment.

To learn more about being a donor, click here.

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