Comic Book Debuts at Florida Supercon to Honor Heroes Who Save the Lives of Blood Cancer Patients
Effort to Support World Marrow Donor Day and Blood Cancer Awareness Month
Boca Raton, FL – As comic book fans flock to Florida Supercon today, a new comic book will be unveiled to honor the real-life heroes who voluntarily donate blood stem cells and bone marrow to save the lives of patients battling blood cancer. Entitled “The Call,” the digital comic book is created by Gift of Life Marrow Registry in collaboration with cartoonist Angus Cameron. Fans attending the convention may visit Gift of Life booth #411 for a direct download of the comic book and the opportunity to join the registry.
The comic book features the tale of a young superhero who selflessly answers “The Call” to become a stem cell donor and finds purpose in being identified as a lifesaving match for a patient in need. In addition, it celebrates donors worldwide in advance of World Marrow Donor Day (WMDD). Created by the World Marrow Donor Association, and recognized this year on September 18, WMDD salutes the more than 39 million volunteers from 55 countries around the world who have become part of the international marrow registry in hopes of saving lives.
“Twenty-six years ago, a real-life hero named Becky gave me the ultimate gift when she donated bone marrow that cured my leukemia and allowed me the opportunity to have hope and health,” said Gift of Life Marrow Registry Founder and CEO Jay Feinberg. “Marrow donors may not wear capes, but they all have extraordinary courage and the conviction to step up when called upon to help someone in need.”
The comic book is also part of Gift of Life’s efforts to appeal to and recruit those who are 18 to 35 years old and in good health, which is the most requested age group from transplant centers.
“We’re always looking for ways to tell the stories of our donors and thank them—both those who have already donated and those who are on the global registry waiting to donate,” said Gift of Life Marrow Registry Director of Organizational Advancement Marti Freund. “This comic book gives us an opportunity to not only thank donors but also drive awareness about blood cancer, sickle cell disease and childhood cancer, which are all recognized in September.”
While a bone marrow or stem cell transplant can serve as a cure for leukemia, sickle cell and other blood diseases, only 30 percent of patients have a matching donor in their families. The remaining 70 percent must hope that a compatible stranger can be found using the worldwide registry. Over 50,000 patients per year look for a matched donor outside their family.
“Saving a life begins with one remarkable person who takes the first step to swab their cheeks to join the registry and then answers the call to donate,” said Freund. “We hope that in seeing themselves represented as the superheroes they are, existing donors can be proud on their actions while new potential donors can be inspired to join the registry.”
The cartoonist Cameron has illustrated for ad agencies, film production companies and publishing houses all over the world, specializing in graphic novels, comics, character design and narrative storytelling. His work has won numerous advertising awards including the prestigious Grand Prix prize at the Loeries Advertising awards.
About Gift of Life Marrow Registry
Gift of Life Marrow Registry is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that cures patients battling blood cancer, sickle cell and other life-threatening diseases by providing donors for marrow and stem cell transplants. Established in 1991 and headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla., the international organization operates a vertically integrated 32,000 square foot facility housing its donor registry, apheresis collection facility and cellular therapy laboratory. Its newest division, Gift of Life Biologics, provides cell and gene therapy developers with allogeneically sourced cellular starting material for further manufacture of next generation biologics drugs. To learn more about Gift of Life Marrow Registry, visit www.giftoflife.org.