Blood drive held in memory of Demetry Walker

MORGANTOWN — Demetry Walker was surely smiling down and happy to see the community support at a health event and blood drive in his memory Tuesday.

That’s according to his mother, Del. Danielle Walker.

Before Demetry went on a ventilator, he made a goal of giving back 10 products for every one he used during treatment of his leukemia. Blood is a lifeline for those with a variety of medical issues from sickle cell to traumatic accidents but it wasn’t the only focus on Tuesday.

“And to make sure that people go to the doctor,” Walker said. “So, we have Mon Health here. We have WVU Medicine here who took phenomenal care of Demetry. We have the NAACP here, with COVID-19 information and membership. We have a Walker’s Warriors table here. We have Be The Match because bone marrow matches would have also been a lifeline for my child.”

Demetry was planning Tuesday’s blood drive before he died. Now, Walker said she’s working to keep his life and legacy alive. 

Ryan Edsall, with the American Red Cross, said events as large as Tuesday’s are rare in north-central West Virginia. All 75 donation slots were filled within weeks of it being announced.

While Demetry didn’t use any bone marrow products, he likely would have if treatment continued.

Lisa Maloney, community engagement representative for Be The Match, said only 1 in 430 people who register as a bone marrow donor are called to donate. The odds of matching are low, with only a 25% chance that marrow between siblings is compatible — and that is the best odds of a match.

“So that’s why we try to build the biggest registry and the most diverse registry that we can,” Maloney said. “So that everybody can find a match.”

Preventive care was also a focus. WVU Medicine and Mon Health representatives were available to provide information and answer questions.

On Facebook, prior to his death, Demetry urged people to go to the doctor if they felt off and said he wished he had when he started feeling weird months earlier.

“Go to the doctor,” Walker said.

Walker was at the event wearing a special pair of Converse Pride shoes. She and Demetry designed them — the last thing they did together before he died. 

She said it was all about the community protecting each other and helping each other out. On the back tab of those special shoes, #Onelove is embroidered. 

“One love is a declaration,” Walker said. “It is a movement of ‘I see you. I love you. I respect you. I will protect you and I stand with you.’ ”

The post Blood drive held in memory of Demetry Walker appeared first on Dominion Post.

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