Inspired by daughter’s fight with cancer, FOX8’s Chad Tucker donates bone marrow to stranger

Piedmont Triad News

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) – Not long after Chad Tucker’s daughter, Pearl Monroe Tucker, was diagnosed with Leukemia in November of 2019, friends wanted to help his family and their little girl, affectionally known as Roe Roe.

“A lot of friends came to us and said what can we do? We want to do something,” Chad said. “One friend, Keasha Rice, asked if she could she hold a bone marrow drive in honor of Roe Roe.”

Roe Roe was 3 at the time and was facing several years of treatments for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, but doctors said a bone marrow transplant would not be needed. 

“We know a lot of people, especially kids, out there do need a marrow transplant,” he said.

Chad attended the drive held by DKMS in March of 2020.  He completed the quick cheek swab that would place him in the worldwide registry.

“Each year on average over 14,000 people are going to be in search of a match,” said Olivia Haddox with DKMS. “About 70% of those people are actually going to rely on a complete stranger for a match.”

About 1% of the people in the registry will be called in their lifetime. In August of 2021, Chad was in that 1%. He got the call that he was a perfect match to a woman battling Leukemia.

“I was nervous. I’d never been put under before, so this was my first procedure,” he said. “I felt a great peace about it all, especially when the doctor doing the procedure shared that her adult son was a childhood leukemia survivor. That’s when I knew I was in the right place at the right time doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.”

Chad’s bone marrow was collected from his pelvis.

About 15% of donors have their marrow collected through their pelvis, according to data from DKMS, and 85% of donors donate through a process called peripheral blood stem cell collection, which is similar to having stem cells filtered from their blood through their arms.

Chad was home within a few hours after his procedure and back to work the next day. DKMS covered all the medical bills.

“I was sore, but nothing that some light pain medication couldn’t take care of,” he said. “Besides the birth of my children, wedding day and becoming a Christian, this was one of the most incredible days of my life.”

Chad does not know who his recipient is or a lot about her, but he hopes the two will be able to meet one day.

“We pray for her every night,” he said.

To learn more about how you can be placed on the registry visit DKMS.org for a free swab kit to be mailed to you.

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