Potential Bone Marrow Donor Found for Firefighter

Veteran firefighter and single dad RC Ortanez is in need of a bone marrow transplant

By R. Stickney
|  Monday, Mar 5, 2012  |  Updated 5:05 PM PDT
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Firefighter Needs Bone Marrow

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Firefighter Needs Bone Marrow

A San Diego firefighter, in need of a special medical treatment, is the focus of a bone marrow registry drive.
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A San Diego firefighter in need of a bone marrow transplant may have found a potential match.

Arsenio “RC” Ortanez, 46, received his 20-year service pin Monday. In February, his fellow firefighters held a bone marrow registry drive in honor of the San Diego Fire and Rescue veteran.

Four years ago, Ortanez was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia.

He was treated for the disease successfully until his body began rejecting medicine. Now Ortanez’ doctors are hopeful a bone marrow transplant will help.

A potential donor has been found. More tests are needed before it is official.

On Monday however, fellow firefighters crowded a hospital room at UCSD Thornton Hospital as Ortanez received chemotherapy.

It was a special ceremony honoring Ortanez' dedication to the department.

He says the support is overwhelming and it is giving him the strength to get through this difficult time.

"I've never felt so much support in anything in my life as I do knowing that I have these guys behind my back so it's an awesome feeling to be associated with the San Diego Fire Department," Ortanez told NBCSanDiego.

Adults between the ages of 18 and 60 are welcome to donate. Anyone interested can join online at Be the Match.org.

If you can’t donate bone marrow, you can donate funds to help offset the cost so the organization can type tissue typing. 

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