Jimmy Martinez is 24-year veteran of the FDNY. Martinez was a 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy first responder. As a direct result of his prolonged exposure at Ground Zero, Martinez developed multiple myeloma nearly a year ago. Firefighters risk their lives every day to save others. Now, we are giving you an opportunity to save the life of a hero. Sign up for the bone marrow donor registry at our Annual Information Forum on September 10th at the Downtown Marriott Hotel.
Multiple myeloma is a cancer formed by malignant plasma cells. Normal plasma cells are found in the bone marrow and are an important part of the immune system. When plasma cells become cancerous and grow out of control, they can produce a tumor called a plasmacytoma, which generally develops in a bone. If someone has more than one plasmacytoma, they have multiple myeloma. Several features characterize multiple myeloma, including: low blood counts, bone problems, infections, kidney problems, and more.
Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking to Eileen Martinez, Martinez’s daughter. Eileen gave me insight into the incredible character of her father and his tragic diagnosis. “My father was very health conscious, always going to yearly check ups. His diagnosis was a direct result of his work as a 9/11 first responder and the World Trade Center Health Program has acknowledged that.” Even after being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, Ms. Martinez told me that her father said “he would do it all again”.
Jimmy Martinez has undergone five rounds of chemotherapy and now depends on a bone marrow transplant. Both Eileen and her brother have dedicated themselves to finding a donor match. Through their efforts, they have held multiple bone marrow drives and added over 250 people to the bone-marrow donor registry. Unfortunately, there is still no match for Mr. Martinez.
Ms. Martinez told me that she reached out to VOICES because our causes are so intertwined. We want to remember the tremendous sacrifices made by the responders and help those still affected by the tragedy 13 years later. Please join us September 10th and you could help save a life.