SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Springfield Fire Department teamed up with a national organization on Saturday to remind people how seemingly small efforts can drastically alter and even save lives.
When retired 32-year Springfield Fire Department vet, Tommy Santaniello, was diagnosed with leukemia six months ago, loved ones quickly rallied to offer support. Tommy was in need of a transplant so the department reached out to Be the Match, an organization that manages the most diverse marrow registry in the world.
Jessica Pacheco from Be the Match said, “So what happens is, you enter this registry. You’re in there until your 61st birthday. Any time a patient is searching, and the doctor searches our registry, you get checked as well.”
Be the Match was at the Western Massachusetts Fire Training Academy Saturday, inviting people to register. The event was held in Tommy’s honor.
Anthony Santaniello, the Captain of the Springfield Fire Department told 22News, “They were going to give him stem cells in Boston, and he just wasn’t able to. He passed away before they could find a match.”
Though a match for his dad wasn’t made, Anthony hopes people might consider entering into this life-saving registry.
Anthony Santaniello added, “I still like to see people come out and maybe find somebody else to match, and save somebody else’s life.”
Joining is simple. You fill out an online registration, swab your cheek and Be the Match takes care of the rest. Donors do have to be between the ages of 18 and 40, though, to ensure the health of the cells.
Jessica Pacheco added, “You know, you can be somebody’s only match in the world.”