Bone marrow drive held Wednesday for Tyler doctor - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Bone marrow drive held Wednesday for Tyler doctor

TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

Over the last 3 months, life has changed drastically for Cody Chandler, a Tyler doctor diagnosed with leukemia just after Thanksgiving.

A bone marrow drive will be hosted Wednesday afternoon in his honor, and one of the main things Chandler stresses now is his new-found passion to get people who need bone marrow transplants the help they need.

"To be very honest, I didn't realize the severity of it. I was like, leukemia, what do you mean leukemia? And he said, you have cancer, and we need to start chemo tomorrow," Chandler recalls.

Chandler is a young father, husband, and doctor. He describes himself as being "pretty healthy" before he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in November.

"The severity of the diagnosis doesn't really hit you until you unfortunately start looking at statistics, and what it's going to take for me to get treated and get healthy and to live past 5 years," he said. "And I don't think I can explain that feeling. I think the real definition of being humbled, I've really learned what humility means."

Chandler's cancer is currently in remission and he continues to have chemo treatments. But if he relapses, he'll have to have a bone marrow transplant. Heart to Heart Hospice in Tyler is hosting a bone marrow drive Wednesday afternoon to get people on the national registry.

"They wanted to reach out and help and let people know how simple the process is to get into the registry and how simple the process is now to donate," said April Brown, the host of Wednesday's blood drive.

To join the registry, it only takes someone 15 seconds to swab their cheek and a few minutes to fill out some paperwork. And Brown says the bone marrow donation process is much easier than people think.

"They put an IV in both arms. They take the blood out and it goes into a machine that separates the stem cells and they'll collect the stem cells and the blood goes back into the arm," she said.

A process Chandler says he now realizes the importance of -- he wishes he could help Leslie Harris, a young Arkansas mother given 6 months to live without a bone marrow transplant.

"I would give her my bone marrow if I could, and I can't, but there's a million people in the upper East Texas region that could. There's 100,000 people in Tyler that could, with a 15-second swab, can maybe save somebody's life, and the reality is it could actually save someone exactly like me," Chandler said.

If you'd like to attend today's bone marrow drive, it's being held at Heart to Heart Hospice here in Tyler from 1 to 6 pm.

If you'd like to help but can't make it, there are a few ways you can do so.

You can donate to the Chandler family at www.comfortforcody.com.

And you can find out more about becoming a bone marrow donor at www.getswabbed.org.

Copyright 2012 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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