A Blood Stem Cell Donor Matching Event Aims To Save the Life of The Potter’s House COO
This weekend, The Potter’s House will welcome as many people as it can for a type of gathering different from the typical Sunday service. On Feb. 26 between noon and 5 p.m. the church is asking for individuals to register as blood stem cell donors to help save the life of its chief operating officer, Frank Dyer.
Dyer, 57, who has been COO of the T.D. Jakes-led megachurch for four years, was diagnosed with blood cancer in 2022. The donor drive event is a partnership between the philanthropic arm of the Potter’s House, United MegaCares and DKMS, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting blood cancer and blood disorders.
The Potter’s House is one the largest churches in the U.S., with a reported congregation of more than 30,000. Jakes, bishop of the nondenominational church, has become one of the best-known religious figures in the country over the past couple of decades, authoring best-selling spiritual books and producing a string of well-received faith-based movies.
Finding a matching donor can be more difficult for some, depending on the patient’s race and ethnicity. In a press release for the event, it’s noted that “heritage matters when it comes to finding a matching donor. The donor pool is not diverse making it difficult for African American patients, like Frank, to find a donor. African Americans have just a 29% chance of finding a matching donor, compared to 79% for Caucasian patients.”
“70% of people suffering from blood-related illnesses must rely on donors outside of their families to save their life.” – DKMS
A match for Dyer is certainly a goal during this event, but matches for the thousands of other patients in the U.S. currently in need of blood stem cells are also being sought on Sunday. Donor drives such as this are important because, according to DKMS, “70% of people suffering from blood-related illnesses must rely on donors outside of their families to save their life.”
Prospective donors in good health between ages of 18 and 55 will be asked to review medical eligibility, fill out a registration form, swab the insides of their cheeks, then drop off their completed packet before leaving the drive.
It’s important to note here this is an effort to find a stem cell donor match and not to collect the blood stem cells on Sunday. It’s not the sort of traditional blood drive where a donor gives blood on the spot. Using DNA techniques, the cheek swab is the first step that helps the dedicated medical staff determine whether someone is a match for a given patient. An appointment to collect the blood stem cells will be arranged following this weekend’s event at The Potter’s House.
People that want to see if they’re a match for blood stem cell donation on Sunday should report to the church’s PLACE Ballroom.