Flower Mound boy hopes to add bone marrow donors: Jonathan Provost's Eagle Scout project could help save lives

Posted: May 27, 2012 at 11:12 am

For Jonathan Provost, choosing his Eagle Scout project was an easy choice. Jonathan's cousin, Matthew Zieman, passed away from Acute Lymphatic Leukemia in February at the age of 24. Because of this, Jonathan's Eagle Scout project is a bone marrow donor registry drive.

"Matt was at his apartment last year and noticed a few bumps on the back of his neck," Jonathan said. "He just ignored them for a few weeks and then he told one of his friends, and she said to get it checked out. So he went by the hospital, they did a few tests, and they found out it was leukemia."

Jonathan hopes the drive will find a number of donors who can help current cancer patients, due to the difficulty of finding donor matches. Immediate family members are generally the first place doctors look for bone marrow donors; Matthew's only sibling wasn't a match, however, which made finding a donor more difficult.

The drive will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 9, at Brad Duren Dentistry, located at 4030 Justin Road, Suite 102, in Flower Mound. The office is past the Chinn Chapel Soccer Complex and across from the Crossroads Bible Church. Jonathan chose the office partly because of its location and partly because of a familiarity.

"It's also off a popular road, and [Brad] told me he'd let me host the donor drive for free," he said. "He's my dentist and my mom works here, too."

The process of becoming a donor is easy. After having a cheek swab done, potential donors merely have to fill out a donor consent form, which will place them in the national bone marrow donor registry. Testing is then done to determine a genetic match between cancer patients and their potential donor. Patients see better results the closer a donor's genetics match his or her own.

If an individual is chosen as a blood donor, he or she will be called to Carter BloodCare to donate blood.

"A lot of people don't know it's really easy to do this -- it's not a complicated process at all," Jonathan said. "They generally don't put a needle in your hip anymore; they normally just take blood and that's it. The process is a lot simpler than it used to be."

Following a successful blood donation, known as peripheral blood stem cell donation, doctors will obtain stem cells from the blood of the donor. Those stem cells will then be given to a cancer patient that's a genetic and blood match in order to stimulate healthy red blood cell production.

If a donor is selected to give a bone marrow donation, he or she will have liquid marrow extracted from the back of the pelvic bone. This type of donation is far less likely, however.

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Flower Mound boy hopes to add bone marrow donors: Jonathan Provost's Eagle Scout project could help save lives

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