Helping Jesse Find a Bone Marrow Match

By: Kim Eiten Email
By: Kim Eiten Email

How you can help Jesse:

  • Bone Marrow Registry Clinic
  • Saturday, May 5th
  • 12-4pm
  • St. Mary's Cathedral
  • 112 S. Cedar, Grand Island

Visit: for more information on becoming a donor, or, sponsoring others to donate.


22-year old Jesse Thompson describes life as a blur of medical tests and chemo.

It all somes after doctors diagnosed him with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia more than two months ago. It's a long name for a life changing disease: cancer.

That was a diagnosis that left Thompson with no words.

"Itss hard to explain what goes through your head really," he said. "I'll be alright, but there is that chance."

But for Thompson, being "alright" doesn't come easy.

"The day I got diagnosed I started chemo, and I had to be rushed down to Omaha in an ambulance because my nose was bleeding and it wouldn't stop," Thompson said.

Doctors tell him he needs a bone marrow transplant.

"Otherwise, his leukemia is going to relapse and it will shorten his life expectancy," Thompson's doctor at University of Nebraska Medical Center, Mojtabi Akhtari, M.D. said.

To get that transplant, Jesse needs a match, a compatible bone marrow donor.

It's a task that's proving to be easier said than done.

"There hasn't been a match yet," Thompson said.

That's a shocking setback given the odds for Jesse's situation.

"There is a good chance to find a donor," Dr. Akhtari said.

Doctors searched registries in the United States and abroad. They found no hits. Family members all got tested, but still no match.

Now, Jesse and his family ask for outside help, seeking a favor from the community that could cure him.

"I hope that, me, I find my donor and I hope that a lot of other people find a donor," Thompson said.

All it takes to find out if you could be a match is a few minutes, a few dollars and a cheeck swab.

That's a service that will be available at a bone marrow drive Saturday at St. Mary's Church in Grand Island.

"If you could get more donors to come forward and get registered, it increases the chances of finding a donor for Jesse," Dr. Akhtari said.

In the meantime, Thompson is just waiting and hoping.

"I get worried, but I can't really do nothing," he said. "I just live day by day, and try to just get through it."

He's wishing for a match.

"I can't wait until that day," Thompson said.

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