Short bill seeks to raise awareness of need for bone-marrow donors

A Deer Park fifth-grader who survived cancer as an infant is the inspiration for a bill introduced in the 2018 legislative session by Sen. Shelly Short, R-Addy.

Short’s legislation, Senate Bill 6155, would increase awareness of the need for bone-marrow donors by requiring the state Department of Licensing to provide each driver’s license or identicard applicant with written materials regarding bone-marrow donation.

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

Senate Bill 6155 received a public hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday afternoon. Among those testifying in favor of it were Deer Park resident Jeana Moore and her 10-year-old granddaughter, Jada Bascom.

Jada Bascom (left) and her grandmother, Jeana Moore, during their testimony on SB 6155.

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.

“Jada’s story is inspiring and has a happy ending, but it also shows how important marrow donations are for leukemia patients and how hard it can be to locate a bone-marrow match. If you are of a multicultural descent, that search is even harder,” Short said.

Short’s 7th Legislative District seatmate, Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber, R-Republic, has introduced a companion measure in the House of Representatives, House Bill 2557, which received a public hearing Tuesday in the House Health Care and Wellness Committee.