Bone marrow drive this weekend for Manatee County elementary teacher

Drive will be held on Saturday and Sunday

SARASOTA, Fla. - Nancy Newby, a McNeal elementary school teacher in Manatee County needs help finding a bone marrow match.

"The hardest thing in the world was getting that phone call, walking out of the classroom to go to the emergency room, and I was not able to go back," said Newby.

The Kindergarten teacher at McNeal Elementary knew she felt weak, so she went to get checked out, and was surprised by her diagnosis.

"When the doctor handed me a card and it said 'oncology,' my husband and I were like 'what?'" she said.

Doctors diagnosed Nancy with Multiple Myeloma.  It is a form of blood cancer.  She is now undergoing chemotherapy but still needs to find a bone marrow match.

"If I get rid of my bone marrow and get new bone marrow in, then I will have a great shot at a cure," she said.

Nancy turned to her family, but no one matched.

Her husband contacted Icla da Silva, a recruitment center for "Be the Match."  They have set up a bone marrow drive this weekend in Sarasota at St.Jude Catholic Church, 3930 17th street from 4:30-7:30p.m. on Saturday and 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Sunday.

"It may not happen right away, but I am praying this weekend brings out a lot of people so that we can find a match for me and others," she said.

Cheek swabs will be taken and entered into a national database, which could match Nancy or anyone else needing a cure.

"Life is hard sometimes, crazy mixed up, messed up and there you are in the middle of it all," Nancy read aloud.

Since being diagnosed she has received an overwhelming amount of support from students and friends, but is counting down the days until she finds a match and can go back to teaching.

"I miss those kids. I love that job. I will be back. My doctor today said, 'I know how you're mind is thinking.' You are planning on going back. I said I am absolutely planning that," she said.

The bone marrow drive will be held on Saturday, Jan. 26 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Saint Jude Catholic Church, 3930 17th St., Sarasota.

If you would like to participate all you have to do is show up and a cheek swab will be taken to test for compatibility. 

For more information, contact Ileana Quinones with the Icla da Silva Foundation at 904-705-1593, or visit

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