Posted: 1:37 p.m. Monday, July 22, 2013

Pastor finds bone marrow match through brother

By Sarah Rosario


A former state trooper and current pastor is getting the lifesaving donation he needs Monday.

Eyewitness News first met Larry Whitley in April when he was searching for a match. The retired state police captain and pastor was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer called acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Whitley's family was tested and bone marrow drives were held at his church, Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist. Three months later, he found a match.

Whitley is in the hospital and spoke to Eyewitness News by Facetime.

"I'm just so grateful that God found a match and my brother was a perfect match," Whitley said.

Channel 9 spoke to Whitley's brother while he was giving his stem cell donation. Andrew Whitley said he drove more than 300 miles from Maryland to North Carolina to be the match for his brother.

"I feel privileged just to be able to do this for him," said Andrew Whitley.

The white blood cells collected from Whitley's brother will automatically be set aside for Whitley's transplant Tuesday.

For the past seven months, Whitley has been getting chemotherapy and radiation therapy in Charlotte.
Recently, he's been getting treatment at Duke University Hospital in Durham.

One of Whitley's nurses, Jackie McIntyre, who has taken care of bone marrow transplant patients for six years was called to be a match for someone else Monday.

"I'm hoping and praying that it works and that she gets long life. That's my best wish for her," Whitley said.

The entire process of collecting the cells needed for a bone marrow transplant takes about six hours.

Doctors say Whitley's recovery will take several months. They'll keep a close watch on him to make sure his body accepts his brother's cells.

"The doctors said it would be total healing for me," Whitley said.

Even though no one at Whitley's church was a match through bone marrow drives for him, he said more than 50 people were added to the bone marrow registry.

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