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[whitespace] Blood and marrow drive is more fun than it sounds

Willow Glen--Who ever thought donating blood or having your bone marrow screened could be so much fun?

At the fifth Annual Special FX Salon & Day Spa Haircut-A-Thon on July 23, visitors will be able to dunk a few, bark with the dogs, get a haircut while donating blood or finding out if they can donate bone marrow. The event benefits the National Marrow Donor Program and Lucile Salter Packard Children's Foundation.

The Haircut-A-Thon is held every July. The event began after an FX employee lost her five-month-old daughter to a rare blood disease. Salon Owner Denise Briones decided to put the event together in memory of the child--and to raise money for the two charities.

In five years, over $30,000 has been raised. Proceeds have been used to support bone marrow drives at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Foothill College, San Jose Water Works and a donor drive at St. Martin's School in Sunnyvale.

Wheelchair soccer, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's K-9 Unit, entertainment, a dunking tank and a jumping room will all be a part of the fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event includes a minority bone marrow drive, bloodmobile from Stanford Blood Center, Haircut-A-Thon, children's finger printing, drawing and silent auction. The event is held in the Special FX parking lot, on the northwest corner of Branham and Ross in the Cambrian area of San Jose, off of Highway 85.

Mindy Albizu, whose 5-year-old son Michael is in need of a bone marrow transplants hopes people will come to the event and be tested to see if they can become a donor. Her son, Michael, has leukemia. "I want to encourage people to come out and enjoy the fun, and get a haircut for a good cause," Albizu.

According to the National Marrow Donor Program, minority donors are especially needed. Minorities are outnumbered four to one by Caucasians in the NMDP registry.

"Donors are carefully screened to confirm they are physically able to be bone marrow donors," says Diane Hill, Marrow Donor coordinator from Stanford Medical School Blood Center. "A small amount of blood is drawn for tissue type testing, and there is no commitment that the person will become a donor match. When a match is found, more testing is done, and the donor attends information sessions before the transplant is actually done," Hill says.

For information and to find out how to sign up to become a donor call 650.723.5532.
Chantal Lamers

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Web extra to the July 20-26, 2000 issue of Metro.

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