Mary Jeanne Mullen Buck—or M.J. to her friends and family—has been battling blood cancer since she was first diagnosed in November 2010.
"I liken it to living in some sort of medical purgatory," said Buck, a 50-year-old Wiltondale resident. "I'm learning to be grateful for every day and am finding the courage to keep moving forward."
There Goes My Hero Foundation, a Maryland nonprofit, is sponsoring a bone marrow drive for Buck at Towson Presbyterian Church on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The transplant could prove instrumental in aiding the mother of two's recovery.
"It's critical for me," she said. "It's the best chance I have."
Buck, who works in Human Resources at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, was in what she calls "quasi-remission" for much of 2011. She said it appeared that the cancer had stabilized. It returned in full force by November of that year. A promising stem cell clinical trial at the University of Maryland Medical Center proved unsuccessful.
"The challenge is daunting," she said. "Living in this type of unknown is a staggering weight to bear."
Buck hopes the drive, which is free and open to the public, will also help spread awareness about the need for bone marrow donors.
"If [donors] are a match, it could save a life," she said.
Donors must be between the ages of 18 and 55, and in generally good health, according to a news release from the There Goes My Hero Foundation. Registration to become a donor involves a cheek swab.
Donors will stay in the registry until age 60.