A Pelham Bay mother of two young children is fighting for her life – and looking for a lifeline from some Good Samaritans.
Denise Kula, 38, is in need of a bone marrow transplant.
To help, a bone marrow drive is being held at St. Benedict’s Church on Palm Sunday, March 24 at St. Benedict’s Church on Bruckner Blvd. at Logan Avenue.
The drive will run from from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the church’s Father Albert Hall.
Kula, the mother of a seven-year-old boy named Kyle and a nine-year-old daughter named Delilah, is suffering from leukemia, said her father, Sal Cordovano.
She is looking for a bone marrow (stem cell) donor match for a transplant to save her life, he said.
The drive at St. Benedict’s is being organized by Delete Blood Cancer (DKMS), the Knights of Columbus and volunteers from St. Benedict’s, and comes on the heels of very successful drive held in Carmel, N.Y., where her father lives. It drew out 160 people, he said.
“People did turn out up in Carmel, and we are hoping to have the same turn out in the Bronx at St. Benedict’s Church,” said Cordovano. “Two different areas are not going to get the same people, that’s for sure.”
Collecting a bone marrow sample to see if there is a match in the national computerized system is a simple mouth swab, her father said.
“They take two cotton tips and they place it in the mouth, doing one side of the mouth and then another side of the mouth,” he said.
Staff or volunteers from DKMS at the drive will inform those interested in giving a sample about their eligibility.
“They can save a life,” said Cordovano. “The bone marrow drive is for Denise Kula, but matches can be found for someone else. Most of the people who have leukemia are young people waiting for a match. So if it doesn’t save Denise, other people could use it.”
One of the three local organizers, Bailey Provetto, said the drive is being held on Palm Sunday because church attendance is usually high that day.
“It is crucial that she get this bone marrow,” said Provetto. “Even though they had one in Carmel, there are a lot of people who know her in the Bronx.”
She added: “It could help Denise and it could help someone else. It is going to help someone. We are keeping our fingers crossed that hopeful we will find a match.”
In addition to Provetto, also working on making the blood drive at St. Benedict’s a success are Jessica Welsh-Walker and Liz Grempert.
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393