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Sierra Auto, City of Hope to Host Bone Marrow Drive for ABC7 Reporter's Sister

The Monrovia drive, also sponsored by City of Hope and ABC7, will benefit Pamela Johnston, the sister of Inland reporter Leticia Juarez.

About a year ago, ABC7 news reporter Leticia Juarez was in doing a story in Palm Springs on how to sign up to be a bone marrow donor.

"Now I am on the other end of that with my family needing to find a donor for my sister," Juarez said.

Juarez's sister Pamela Johnston, 37, was diagnosed with both Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and Leukemia in November and because no one in her family is a match, ABC7, City of Hope, Be The Match, and Sierra Auto have stepped up to sponsor a bone marrow drive Jan. 20 in Monrovia.

Juarez, 38, said because she and her sister are of mixed heritage, Latino and white, it has been tougher to find a match.  The news reporter said she and other members of her family were tested but were not matches for Johnston.

Johnston, an artist, went through her first round of chemo and doctors originally thought she was in remission, Juarez said.  However, the treatment didn't work because she has lymphoma on top of the leukemia. The family didn't find out Johnston would need a donor until last month.

"When the first round didn't take, the doctors said we have a more aggressive disease and said we need to find her a donor sooner rather than later," Juarez said. 

The two sisters are very close.

"She's the baby of the family," Juarez said.  "She's the crazy artist. I was the more serious one. Without her, I would not have had as much fun."

The process for testing to see if there is a match is easy, she said.  It does not involve giving blood, just a cheek swab to see if a particular protein in the DNA could be a match for someone. 

"I have been on the registry for over a year and no one has ever called me," she said. "But if they called me, I would donate."

What: Bone marrow drive for Pamela Johnston

Where: Sierra Family of Dealerships, 1305 S. Mountain Ave., Monrovia

When: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20 

Information on joining the donor registry: contact Joyce Valdez at City of Hope at 626-373-4000 or jovaldez@coh.org


Dan Poynter January 14, 2014 at 07:10 AM
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