Helping Susquehanna Twp. woman find life-saving match

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Two months ago, Jillian Procope, of Susquehanna Township, received a life-changing diagnosis of leukemia. She's hospitalized and waiting for a bone marrow transplant.

But the wait may be longer for Jillian because of her genetic makeup. So that's why her best friends are overseeing efforts to save her life.

In June, Lynsey Alicea's best friend, Jillian, called her with bad news.

Lynsey says, "She calls me and says I have leukemia, and I was shocked, what? No you can't, this isn't happening to my best friend, this can't happen."

Instead of enjoying summer break from Towson University, Jillian's receiving her second round of chemotherapy at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Lynsey says, "She just tries to laugh and be herself when you're talking to her which is very awesome, to see she still has a good attitude towards it all."

But Jillian's greatest challenge may be finding a matching bone marrow donor, because she's of Afro-Caribbean and Caucasian ancestry. Only 4 percent of "Be The Match" donors are multiracial.

Aimee Haskew is a representative with "Be The Match." She says, "Matches are based on your DNA, it's called tissue type, not blood type, so because it's genetically matched and invented from your parents, because of that you're most likely to match with your own racial background."

Haskew's helping Lynsey and her friend Brandon Fuller organize a benefit in honor of their loyal and energetic friend.

Lynsey says, "We would like to raise awareness for the fact that there are not a lot of diverse people in the registry and we would like bring more out and welcoming all people."

Once you "Be The Match" a simple cheek swab is a first step that could save Jillian's life.

The teens are 2014 graduates of Susquehanna Township High School. Thursday they're hosting a "Be The Match" donor registration drive. It's from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Susquehanna Township High School Library.

If you can't attend the event, you can still make a Jillian's Team Page