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MISSION OF MERCY : BOY'S LEUKEMIA DRAWS POTENTIAL BONE MARROW DONORS.

Byline: Alicia Doyle Daily News Staff Writer

She has never met David Rowe, yet Janet Witt cried Sunday as she filled out a lengthy medical evaluation form to be a possible bone marrow donor for the 11-year-old boy with leukemia.

``I have children, too,'' said Witt, who volunteered to have her blood tested after learning that a bone marrow transfer may be David's only hope. ``I wanted to help.''

Witt was among a crowd of people who gave blood Sunday at Simi Valley Community Church, where a drive for potential bone marrow donors was held throughout the afternoon. Within the first 45 minutes, 30 people had donated their blood to be tested as possible donors for the boy.

The son of Steve and Debra Rowe, the church's missionaries to Brazil, David was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 9.

Since his diagnosis, David has endured months of chemotherapy, most of which was administered in Brazil. Steve and Debra believed the disease was under control - until last month.

While they had the choice to search for a bone marrow donor in Brazil, the family decided to come back home because the procedure has been practiced here longer, Steve said.

David's diagnosis of acute lymphocytic leukemia accounts for one of roughly 1,600 cases of leukemia expected among children nationwide this year, officials said.

Church administrator Maureen Rauchfuss began coordinating the drive for David three weeks ago, when she learned the boy's leukemia went out of remission.

Even though she has never met David and his family, she decided to help because she would want others to do the same if her family were in need.

``It's all about helping humanity and saving other people,'' said Rauchfuss, who has two daughters. ``If my family needed help, I would want everyone to come forward.''

Now, David's family is investing its faith in a stranger - an anonymous bone marrow donor they pray will be a perfect match for their son. The Rowes hope Sunday's bone marrow drive will be a step toward David's recovery.

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Photo

Photo: (Color only in Conejo edition) Greg Eklund donates a blood sample for phlebotomist Anthony Montes at a church's bone marrow drive for 11-year-old David Rowe.

Tina Gerson/Daily News
COPYRIGHT 1996 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 3, 1996
Words:373
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