From donor to board member…

The newest addition to the Med City Foundation board, Derrick Chapman, does not work in the health field, but rather owns a food truck! He owns and operates The Twisted Barrel Pizza Truck in Rochester. He became involved with the board when a current member of the Med City Foundation heard that Derrick had an with experience donating bone marrow. Though he is not currently working in the medical or health field, through Med City Foundation, he has direct experience working with blood cancer patients and their families and is able to help to impact and improve their lives through the work the foundation does.

Derrick was already donating blood and platelets, when he first decided that he would join the bone marrow registry through Be the Match. In order to join the registry, he took an online questionnaire and sent a cheek swab through the mail to the registry to wait for a match. Derrick waited for a year and a half until he was found as a match for a cancer patient. He called immediately after being notified he was a match, surprising the caller, and the process began. The entire donation process takes approximately 20-30 hours over a 4-6 week period of time, not including travel time, while about 40% of donors travel during their donation. To ensure Derrick was in prime health, he underwent three blood draws, an electrocardiogram, a chest x-ray, and physical before he was able to donate bone marrow. It took approximately three weeks to recover from the procedure and feel normal again, but Derrick says that the temporary pain and fatigue that he feels when he gives bone marrow is nothing compared to what the cancer patients go through during their rounds of chemotherapy and transplants.

Throughout the time of his donation, and after, Derrick shared his experience on Facebook in hopes that more people would join the Be the Match registry. Through Facebook, he knows of twelve more people who joined the bone marrow registry through his advocacy. Doctors search the registry for matches for their patients based on a component of DNA called human leukocyte antigen (HLA) markers. Since HLA markers are very specific to each individual, it can be difficult to find a life saving match for blood cancer patients, which is why the registry is constantly looking for more donors. In fact, the likelihood of an individual being selected as a marrow match is 1 in 430, so the more selection on Be the Match, the better.

Derrick’s wife is also a donor. After hearing that a friend in need was in desperate need for a kidney, she went in to see if she was a match. Finding out she was not a match for her friend, she was able to donate her kidney to another patient, resulting in her friend being bumped to the top of the donor list, and she was able to receive her kidney! Derrick says that his family, his wife and three daughters, are a motivation for him, and Derrick hopes that if he were to ever need a bone marrow transplant or an organ transplant, those resources would be there for him.

Derrick says that the most difficult part of working with the Med City Foundation is having to say no to families in need because of a lack of financial resources. He  is excited to see how the Med City Foundation can continue to grow and expand to help those blood cancer patients in need of support. In addition, he enjoys working with the Med City Foundation because he knows that he is helping an individual and a family work through a very difficult time and he loves helping and supporting patients and their families.


From donor to board member…