Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center’s Marrow Donor Program hosted its 17th annual Roll the Dice for Life fundraiser Friday, Feb. 6, at The Bell Tower on 34th. By the end of the evening, $140,000 was raised to help add potential marrow donors to the Be The Match Registry.
More than 200 guests mixed and mingled while enjoying dinner, drinks, dancing, casino games and an auction. Donors, survivors and advocates alike were presented with honors.
The inaugural Ronnie Mascheck Heart of a Hero Award was bestowed upon the family of Traneka Davis, a patient who helped recruit more than 1,000 bone marrow registrants before losing her battle against large B-cell lymphoma last December. Davis also worked to raise awareness of the registry’s lack of ethnic diversity, which limits the likelihood of minority patients finding the matches that could mean the difference between life and death.
Mascheck has been involved with the Marrow Donor Program ever since his son, Zack, passed away in December 2007. He has assisted registering more than 2,000 individuals from the Houston Police Department, a dozen of which have gone on to donate.
Other notable guests recognized at Roll the Dice included Dr. George Carrum, who facilitated the Gulf Coast Marrow Donor Program’s 1,000th donation; 24-year survivor Eileen Zwart; marrow donors Carlys Steele and Casey Jensen; and Jensen’s marrow recipient, Linden McCoy Joiner.
Since its inception nearly 20 years ago, the Gulf Coast Marrow Donor Program has raised more than $1.5 million and added more than 15,000 potential donors to the Be The Match Registry.