The organizer of a golf tournament held yesterday at Spring Creek is hoping when people sign in, they also sign up to save a life. We have more on the man behind "Compassion in Action" and how a complete stranger from somewhere in this country saved his life by donating bone marrow.
More than 100 golfers showed up at Spring Creek Country Club to show support for recent cancer survivor Rodney Lamfers and support his new venture "Compassion in Action". A fund set up through the Avera McKennan Foundation with the Alvin Plucker Family from Chancellor this summer.
Rodney says, "Last year my friends held a golf benefit for our family to raise money to help pay expenses. I couldn't play in it because I was in the hospital at the time getting treatment, but I enjoy golf and this is a way for my friends to get together and raise a little money. We ended up raising a lot more money than I expected which is a good thing. We started "Compassion in Action" as a way to give back to other going through the same battles."
Life for Rodney and his family over the course of the last year has been anything but par for the course. In August of 2009 Rodney, at the age of 36, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia or AML which is a quickly forming blood cancer. Rodney found out early on he would need a bone marrow transplant to survive. After several rounds of chemo, he got that transplant in December.
Rodney says, "They tested my brothers and they were not a match so we went to the National Bone Marrow Registry and 5 people were a 100% match in the data base. From there the doctors picked one."
Because Rodney's donor is a complete stranger he wants to encourage others to consider adding their name to the registry. Members of the Avera McKennan Bone Marrow Transplant Program were on hand to help with that.
Coordinator Sarah Schuster says, "Each center is different in how they want to run their stem collection. Here at Avera McKennan locally we would give you a few growth factor shots for a few days and then you come in and it is very similar to donating blood. It takes about 4 hours and then you go home. It's an amazing procedure to be able to do that. What a gift to be able to give the gift of life and be a donor."
Matt Mueller didn't know Rodney personally until today, but like Rodney, is a fellow CPA and is sits on a board with one of Rodney's friends. That's why he came here today to golf and get his name on the registry.By the way, it doesn't cost a thing.
Mueller says, "Just to get on the registry it only took a couple minutes to fill out the consent form. The swabs (you swab the inside of your cheeks in 4 places) took 30 seconds so it doesn't take much effort at all. I think it hit home when I heard the story of Mr. Lamfers last year. He has young kids at home and a young wife. I'm young so I think it just really hit home for me and it's for a good cause."
This may look like your typical best ball, but really it's compassion in action.
The golf tourney netted around $11,000. The first recipients were Grant and Bonita Vietor of Sioux Center, Iowa this summer.
For more information on Avera's Bone Marrow Transplant Program:
COMPASSION IN ACTION Spaghetti Supper
Oct. 11 5-8 PM
2nd Reformed Church