A San Diego nonprofit dedicated to helping firefighters and their families in times of need is on a mission to find a bone marrow match for someone who means a lot to one of their own.
Joshua Karty, 31, is a father of three who grew up in San Diego and moved to Idaho in 2008. Today, he is hospitalized in Seattle, in need of a life-saving bone marrow transplant. He is the stepson of San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Engineer Dianne Karty.
A year ago, Joshua Karty was diagnosed with chronic leukemia. The illness has since progressed into acute myeloid and acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
He is waiting to find a bone marrow match that could save his life.
This past March, Dianne Karty reached out to the San Diego Fireman’s Relief Association (SDFRA) for support in getting the word out to potential donors in hopes of helping her stepson.
Brandt Truver, president of the SDFRA, got on board. On Saturday, Truver, along with several volunteers, hosted a bone marrow donor drive in Point Loma to help Joshua Karty.
“We’re looking for a match for Josh, and to get him the help he needs,” Truver told NBC 7. “The Kartys have given so much to the City of San Diego.”
The efforts to help Joshua Karty also include help from FireFighterAid, Local 145 and Be The Match, the world’s largest marrow registry, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program.
Truver said the SDFRA is looking for people ages 18 to 44 to join the Be the Match registry as donors. Their cells will be compared against Joshua Karty’s cells, and could be the match he needs.
Truver said the SDFRA found a donor for a fellow firefighter this way several years ago and the group is hoping they can do it again for the Kartys.
Saturday was a solid start. Truver said 17 people registered to become donors for Joshua Karty.
Truver said Joshua Karty’s days at the hospital right now are filled with ups and downs, but, in his words, “Today is a good day.”
He said the SDFRA considers firefighters “extended family” and this mission to help the Kartys is just that: family helping family.
To learn more about Joshua Karty’s battle with leukemia and how to help, click here.