Be the Match bone marrow registration held at Copperas Cove Fire Station


Cove Leader-Press


The Copperas Cove Fire Department joined forces with the Be the Match Foundation to hold a registration drive and raise awareness about the bone marrow registry Saturday. 

The drive was held to raise awareness about the bone marrow registry and also featured a tip jar to raise funds for a Copperas Cove firefighter and his family who have been facing a life-changing diagnosis since February 2021. 

Madelyn Albright, the daughter of Copperas Cove Fire Department firefighter Jeremy Albright and his wife, Candace, was diagnosed with Acute T-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) earlier this year. The diagnosis revealed that she had a mass on the left side of her chest that was pushing her trachea to the right with traces of the cancer in her kidneys that are now enlarged, and more than 50 percent of the cells in her bone marrow were cancerous. Spinal fluid tests also revealed that her diagnosis places her into the CNS 3 category. 

Maddie has undergone numerous treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation, and has been in and out of the hospital since her diagnosis. In October, it was revealed the cancer had made its way back into Maddie’s spinal fluid and bone marrow. Her mother, Candace, shared that they had recently found some potential donors that are perfect matches for Maddie for a bone marrow transplant. Candice said she was appreciative of the Copperas Cove Fire Department for hosting a Be the Match registration drive as a way to pay it forward and hopefully find matches for other patients needing their donor.  

“Any Be the Match drive is actually a good way to one, do it in honor of somebody, but also pay it forward to those that haven’t found their matches yet,” Candace said. 

Deputy Fire Chief Gary Young agreed. 

 “This Be the Match is very beneficial to Maddie’s cause because it’s bringing our residents in who may not already be listed in the registry, and it’s bringing them in so that they can be able to demonstrate their support of Maddie’s cause, and while maybe none of them could be a match for Maddie, they could be a match for some other family that’s experiencing the same health problems that Maddie is experiencing, so they will be able to hopefully help somebody else because of the fact that they have been registered,” he said. 

There was also a container collecting donations for the Albright family to help provide presents for Christmas for Maddie and her siblings. 

Young said that the Copperas Cove Fire Department is tightknit and has been supporting Albright as his family faces this daunting diagnosis. 

“For Jeremy, Firefighter Albright, for him to be away from work to be able to be there and be present for the care of his daughter, he still needs to be able to receive a paycheck to be able to pay their bills and so forth, and the amount of accrued time that he has is quickly dwindling, and so our firefighters are donating their own sick leave and their accrued leave time to Jeremy so that he can be away, and that’s actually not uncommon for us because over the past three decades while I’ve worked for the fire service, when one of our brothers or sisters has experienced some sort of a tragedy, we try to come together to help take care of them while they have to be away,” Young said. “We’re trying to take care of the Albright family as best as we possibly can within our own means.”

Young said that people should consider registering with Be the Match but also consider registering to become an organ donor to help save a life while living or after death. 

“Very few people sign up to be organ donors,” Young said. “Very few people sign up to donate bone marrow, and this is just an excellent opportunity to give us a chance to be able to try to do that, to try to help somebody else either while we’re living through marrow donation, or you know, we die, we give, sustain or enhance somebody else’s life by the donation of our organs. It is of course a very personal choice but raising the awareness for that opportunity is definitely there, and that’s what we’re encouraging.”

Melinda Dixon, with Be the Match, was at the Central Fire Station on S. Main Street, to register people for the bone marrow registry. Those interested filled out a registration form and swabbed their cheeks for a sample that Dixon took to mail off in order to be added to the Be the Match bone marrow registry. 

The Be the Match Foundation is a registry that matches bone marrow or blood stem cell donors with patients through a global database. Founded as the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry more than 30 years ago, Be the Match, operated by the National Marrow Donation Program, has managed the most diverse marrow registry in the world, according to the Be the Match website. 

Be The Match provides patients access to more than 39 million donors (both marrow and blood stem cell) around the world, and there are also nearly 806,000 cord blood units listed on registries across the globe.

After a person swabs and sends in their sample, they are added to the registry and the Be the Match Foundation will work to match patients with donors by using HLA typing to see if they have the same protein antigens to see if they are a genetic match in order to move forward with either a bone marrow transplant or a stem cell transplant. 

 A person receives half of their HLA markers from their mother and half from their father, so biological siblings who share the same parents have a 25 percent chance of being a close HLA match. About 70 percent of patients who need a transplant don’t have a fully matched donor in their family, though. 

A donor must match a minimum of six HLA markers, and many times, a closer match is required according to the Be the Match website. 

Dixon said that there are currently 22 million people on the registry, and Caucasians make up 79 percent of the registry, while Hispanics are only 48 percent and African Americans are just 29 percent. 

“We need to work on this and just diversify the registry more so that we can have matches for all patients,” Dixon said. 

Once a person has registered and given their sample, they will remain on the registry for life. Ideal donors are between the ages of 18 and 40. Younger donors are preferred because they tend to be healthier and provide better outcomes with transplants, Dixon said. 

For those who have already been swabbed and are on the registry, they can call 1-800-MARROW2 (1-800- 627-7692) to check on their registration status. 

A Go Fund Me has been set up for the Albright family, raising $16,595 as of press time:

To find more information about the bone marrow registry or to sign up to get swabbed and be a match, visit 

Copperas Cove Leader Press

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Copperas Cove, TX 76522
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