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Posted: 6:04 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, 2013
By Sarah Rosario
MATTHEWS, N.C. —
The community is stepping in to help a local pastor in need of bone marrow transplant. The former state highway patrolmen traded his badge for a pulpit and now he's praying a donor's generosity will help save his life. "I woke up this morning, so we give God praise for that," said the Rev. Larry Whitley. Whitley said he's always had trust in God, but now that he's facing a second fight against cancer that trust is being put to the test. Whitley is diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer called ALL or acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It's a blood cancer, similar to myelodysplasia, dysmyelopoiesis syndrome, or MDS, the illness ABC's "Good Morning America" Robin Roberts is fighting. In Roberts' case, her sister was her bone marrow match, but Whitley is not so sure if a family member will be his. "We have tested my siblings and I'm very blessed to have six siblings," he said. Not all of the results have come back. As a retired state trooper and now pastor, Whitley has always worked to protect and serve others. Now the community is stepping in to serve him. This weekend the National Bone Marrow Registry will host a drive at the church. The problem is only 2 percent of Americans are on the National Bone Marrow Registry, which means it's not likely Whitley will get a match. "That's where we as Christians, our faith comes in," he said. Five years ago when Whitley had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, he was given 50/50 chance of living. In his last battle, Whitley's cancer got so bad he was in a coma for a week. This time, while he desperately needs a match, he's hopes the drive will help others. "We can't look at the odds being against us. We've got to look at what is for us and each day brings a new challenge and the opportunity for us to give back to someone else," he said. Despite the odds Whitley is staying positive. The Bone Marrow Registry drive will be from noon to 3 p.m. April 28 at Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, 381 Crestdale Road, Matthews.
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