One New Jersey family is carrying on the legacy of their father by advocating for Be The Match and educating the public about the significance of joining the registry.
In March 2019, John Keegan underwent a normal blood test when it was discovered that he had a low white blood cell count. He was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome, which rapidly developed into Acute Myeloid Leukemia by June.
John and his family learnt that a bone marrow transplant was his best hope for a cure. Three of John’s sons joined the Be The Match registry as he underwent intensive chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
“My father was my inspiration and role model,” stated son Ryan Keegan. “He was a somebody I admired.”
The family was unable to locate a perfect match, but John’s son, John Keegan III, was a half-match, and a transplant was conducted in September, with a lymphocyte infusion scheduled for May 2020.
Stacey Sager provides additional information about a Long Island family with two young children in need of a bone marrow transplant.
During the two years that followed the bone marrow transplant, John senior suffered with a number of additional health concerns, including Graft Versus Host Disease and COVID-19, as well as a few operations, all in the midst of a global pandemic.
In the two years that the transplant granted John, he was able to attend family milestones.
Ryan added, “He was able to attend my wedding.” “He witnessed my brother having two boys. That time was quite precious to us.”
John played golf, spent time at the beach, attended a Giants game, and had a full life.
The unfortunate conclusion of John’s fight occurred on Christmas morning in 2021.
When John was unable to discover a perfect match, in March of 2020, his youngest son Ryan received a phone call informing him that he was a match for another patient in need.
Ryan stated that being contacted by them was one of the coolest moments of his life. How do you say no when you’re asked whether you want to save someone’s life?
Two months later, Ryan helped save the life of a lady he had never met by donating stem cells. The two will meet for the first time this year at the Be The Match New York Gala, which will honour the Keegan family for their efforts.
The Keegans utilise John’s experience to emphasise the significance of registering for the bone marrow registry.
Ryan, now an ambassador for the New York City chapter of Be The Match, utilised his father’s favourite activity to launch a golf tournament to raise funds in his honour.
“I wanted to establish something for him, but not a memorial,” Ryan explained.
We established the John F. Keegan as a way to honour his legacy and perpetuate his name.
In addition to running the New York City Marathon, Ryan and his brothers raised a total of $150,000 for the organisation.
Ryan stated, “It’s something I strongly believe in, and I want everyone to know that they could save someone’s life.”
Tuesday marks ten years since co-host Robin Roberts returned to Good Morning America following a life-saving bone marrow transplant.
Tuesday morning, Eyewitness News will broadcast live from Hofstra University, where students will be participating in a countrywide bone marrow drive to commemorate Robin’s birthday.