Mayor Stephanie M. Burke received a letter from Medford resident Mr. Barry Norton last week regarding his son’s battle with leukemia. In his letter, Mr. Norton stated that his son Joseph needs a bone marrow transplant and the family wanted to be creative when coming up with a way to get people involved so that anyone, in any community might benefit. Joseph, “Joe” as he is referred to by his friends and family, does not want this to be solely about him, he wants to do something that is truly about helping others. As Mr. Norton mentioned in his letter, “this would be a friendly challenge to potentially help thousands in need.”
After brainstorming with Mr. Norton, our goal was to promote the Norton’s idea of the Cotton Swab Challenge, a concept that stemmed from the way Be the Match, a nonprofit organization, identifies a donor match through a cotton swab of your mouth. Be the Match has managed the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world.
On Friday, October 6th, Mayor Burke kicked off the official Cotton Swab Challenge at the “Field of Dreams” with the Norton Family, School Committee Member Mea Quinn Mustone, State Representative Sean Garballey, Superintendent Belson, over 200 student athletes and several coaches. Everyone stood proudly together linking arms in the shape of a ribbon, wearing orange to support leukemia, as Mayor Burke challenged Mayor Curtatone of Somerville, Mayor Christenson of Malden and Mayor Dolan of Melrose.
Mayor Burke said, “together we can save a life and together we can be a match!” Now it’s your turn to get involved, Saturday, October 14th at the McGlynn School from 12-3 p.m. you can get swabbed with Be the Match and be a part of the #CottonSwabChallenge by challenging your friends, family and even teammates.
Look for the Be the Match table at the Harvest your Energy Festival this Saturday and you can participate in finding a match! Take the #CottonSwabChallenge and register for the Bone Marrow Registry at the Harvest Your Energy Festival! Guidelines for registering at https://bethematch.org/support-the-cause/donate-bone-marrow/join-the-marrow-registry/register-at-a-local-event/