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In Grace's memory, offer bone marrow


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When Havre's 8-year-old Grace Gibson died Thursday, she took with her the hearts and the hopes of her family and friends. The loss of a child is beyond measure, the cruelest loss of all. But for Grace, the story is not over and her memory will prove a blessing for many others who might have shared her fate. Grace died of leukemia, an all too common disease among children. She had fought bravely against her cancer. Her energy and optimism were undaunted by doses of chemotherapy, and she was an inspiration to those around her. And it seemed a fight she could win. The bone marrow of her 3-year-old sister was a match for Grace, and a transplant was scheduled. But before the operation could be performed, Grace passed away. Ironically, her death came the very morning that a bone marrow registry drive had been organized in her name. Now this effort has been energized and expanded which is good news because there are many in Montana with immune system issues who face Grace's struggle. Their best hope is often a bone marrow transplant. Finding a match among tens of thousands of tissue types is a difficult, complex procedure. Without a registry of potential donors, the chances of success are much diminished. The search might begin with family members, but there is no certainty that a match will be found. The match between Grace and her sister was statistically lucky. As of now, Grace's fate has prompted many Havre and Hill County folks to offer to have their marrow types determined and placed on a list of potential donors. The procedure, a cheek swab, is simple and non-invasive. The lifesaving potential of this act of compassion is enormous. To participate, visit http://www.BeTheMatch.org. Should you later be asked to donate, the process may not be so simple, but the value cannot be calculated in medical terms. Grace — so aptly named — has provided all of us an opportunity to make our lives better, more promising, more certain. The inspiring manner in which she lived her brief life will ensure that others will live the long and full lives to which they are entitled. She has our heartfelt gratitude for that. (Alice Campbell is a staff writer for the Havre Daily News. She can be reached at [email protected] havredailynews.com.)


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