Firefighter Needs Bone Marrow Transplant

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

A San Diego firefighter, in need of a special medical treatment, is the focus of a bone marrow registry drive.

Arsenio “RC” Ortanez, 46, has been a member of San Diego Fire and Rescue for 20 years. Four years ago, Ortanez was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia.

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

So, the San Diego Fireman's Relief Association held a bone marrow registry drive Thursday to look for donors for one of their own.

“RC obviously sends his love and his thanks, he’s actually at UCSD in their transfusion center,” one of his friends told the packed room of potential donors.

“Thanks everybody for showing up and spending your time. He really appreciates it.”

Dozens of Ortanez’ buddies came to the drive to see if they could be a match.

“They realize they may not be a match for RC but they’re willing to do it for anybody. True heroes, true heroes here,” said Pat Conlee, recruitment manager of “Be the Match.”

Organizers expected around 500 people to turn out for the drive Thursday.

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

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

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