On Wednesday the motocross industry came out to support the "Be The Match" foundation a registry donor organization helping people diagnosed with leukemia find matching donors.
Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood, bone marrow and lymphoid system. The National Cancer Institute reports that 47,150 new cases of leukemia have been diagnosed since Jan. 1. It is a treatable cancer but matching donors need to be found for bone marrow transplants.
Wednesday's efforts at Monster Energy headquarters in Corona, Calif., were to support Kim McGrath, wife of motocross rider and off-road truck racing driver Jeremy McGrath, because of her recent diagnosis of leukemia of the skin [leukemia cutis]. Several hundred people came out in support of Kim, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, by registering at the event that featured McGrath autographing posters and a gift basket, a Monster guitar,a McGrath jersey and other prizes being raffled off. Combined with a May 11 drive at Lake Elsinore, McGrath's efforts have drawn nearly 1,000 new donors to register, said his publicist, Cheryl Lynch.
Registering is easy and can be done onsite at marrow drives, such as this one organized by McGrath, or by using a kit ordered online. The kit comes with a swab that you run on the inside of your cheek and a box to mail it back in. You can go to their website to order your registry kit and be the match that may help save the life of a close friend, family member or someone else's mother, father, son or daughter.
In a movement McGrath lovingly refers to as Team Kim, bone marrow drives have already been set at most of the stops of the AMA Outdoor National Series starting this weekend at Hangtown in Sacramento, Calif. Additionally, weekend drives are also taking place Saturday and Sunday at Speedworld Raceway in Arizona where Jeremy McGrath will be for the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series.
On Friday, bethematch.org and Team Kim will be at Camp Pendleton for the Semper Fi Ride Day, where up to 5,000 participants are expected. Team Kim drives continue on May 23 at Wasserman Media Group/ Transworld Headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif.; June 1 in Ensenada, Mexico, for the Baja 500; June 2 at the AV Motoplex in Lancaster, Calif.; June 8 and 9 at Chaparral Motorsports in San Bernardino, Calif.; and June 17 with SPY Optic for the Del Mar Races in Del Mar, Calif.
"We really hope to keep the momentum going and I look forward to coordinating bone marrow drives at many large-scale events this summer," said McGrath, who hopes to attract 10,000 donors by the end of Team Kim's marrow awareness drive. "The responses to my initial ask for help has really been more than me and Kim could have ever imagined. Thank you all so much."
A Team Kim Facebook page is in the works that will list all of the upcoming events in detail. Team Kim hopes to have drives in place at an upcoming NASCAR race and at events in June surrounding the X Games in Los Angeles. Visit www.bethematchfoundation.org/goto/kimmcgrath to join the registry or to make a donation.