Panel OKs Short bill raising awareness of need for bone-marrow donors

The Senate Transportation Committee this week has approved a bill introduced by Sen. Shelly Short that seeks to increase awareness of the need for bone-marrow donors.

Short’s legislation, Senate Bill 6155, would raise awareness by requiring the state Department of Licensing to provide each driver’s license or identicard applicant with written materials regarding bone-marrow donation. The bill has been sent to the Senate Rules Committee for consideration.

“The goal of this bill is to make more people realize the need for bone-marrow donors and to generate more interest and education in the national marrow-donor program,” said Short, R-Addy. “I believe Washington would be the first state in the nation to do this if this bill becomes law.”

When Senate Bill 6155 received a public hearing in the Transportation Committee last week, among those testifying in support were Deer Park resident Jeana Moore and her 10-year-old granddaughter, Jada Bascom.

Short said she decided to introduce the bill after learning about Bascom’s moving story. Soon after Bascom was born in April 2007, she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, an aggressive form of cancer that starts in the bone marrow.

After chemotherapy did not work, her family sought a bone-marrow transplant, but out of 7 million people in the National Bone Marrow Registry at that time, not a single match was found. Bascom’s family widened the search to Europe, and a match was found in Germany. On Nov. 27, 2007, Bascom received the lifesaving transplant.

Short’s 7th Legislative District seatmate, Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber, R-Republic, has introduced a companion measure in the House of Representatives, SSB 2557, which was passed last week by the House Health Care and Wellness Committee.

Short and Maycumber are among several legislators who are taking part in a marrow registration event sponsored by the Senate next Tuesday (Feb. 6) at the Capitol. The registration drive is led by Be The Match.