News & Events

Backus Shows Support for Employee Family and Other Leukemia Patients

December 19, 2012

The William W. Backus Hospital Shows Support for Employee Family and Other Leukemia Patients  by Holding Be The MatchSM Marrow Drive

Just two weeks after her 25th birthday, Katelyn Spence was diagnosed with ALL – a form of leukemia. To say her life has changed in a matter of seconds is an understatement. Her mother, Laurie Matney, is a Clinical Leader at the William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich. Katelyn followed in her footsteps by becoming a nurse. Prior to diagnosis she led a very active life working as a Registered Nurse and pursuing a master’s degree as an Advanced Practice Nurse at Quinnipiac University. Now in the beginning phase of treatment for leukemia, it is yet unknown if Katelyn will need a bone marrow transplant during the course of her treatment. Friends and family have offered to be tested to see if they are a match, but one never knows who will be the “perfect” match. While she might not need a donor, there are people all over the world in need of a match. Katelyn urges everyone to please to step forward and get a simple cheek swab to see if you are a match. You have the power to change someone’s life. Please take the first step and join the registry.

In a show of support for Katelyn, her family, and thousands of other patients like her, The William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich will host a marrow donor registration drive on Tuesday, January 8th  from 11am-4pm  in the Main Lobby Conference Room 3 and Cafeteria to add new potential donors to the Be The Match Registry

  • Registration is simple, requiring only paperwork and a cheek swab. No blood is taken at registration.
  • You must be between the ages of 18 and 44, in good general health and willing to donate to any person you may match to join the registry.
  • There is no out of pocket cost to join the Registry. We bill insurance companies $112 to cover the cost of the tissue typing and processing needed to place someone on the registry.  Health insurance policies written in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, by state mandate, cover the cost of the tissue typing required to place someone on the registry. For those without health insurance, out of state insurance, or high deductibles our sponsor, Michael’s Fund of Fall River, Massachusetts covers the cost. Donations are always greatly appreciated, but are never required.
  • Certain medical conditions will make you ineligible to join the registry. Please contact Jennifer St. Peter at 401-714-6240 or [email protected] with eligibility questions. 


Every day thousands of patients who need a life-saving marrow or blood stem cell transplant are searching for a matching donor. There are more than 15 million donors worldwide who stand ready to give someone a future, yet even with a registry of millions, there are patients waiting and hoping, unable to find a match.

A marrow or blood stem cell transplant is a way to treat and possibly cure people with leukemia, lymphoma and other deadly diseases. Patients in need of a marrow or blood stem cell transplant are most likely to match someone of their own race and ethnicity.

Donation, if you match, is typically done through an automated blood donation (75% of the time) or a minor surgical procedure done under anesthesia (25%).



Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
11:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.
The William W. Backus Hospital
Main Lobby Conference Room 3 & Cafeteria
326 Washington Street
Norwich, CT 06360



Jennifer St. Peter, Account Executive,
Be The Match Registry at Rhode Island Blood Ctr.
Phone: 401-248-5762     Cell: 401-714-6240
Email: [email protected]


Amy Dunion, The William W. Backus Hospital
Phone: 860-425-3877
Email: [email protected]



About Be The Match: Be The Match Registry is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP). Be The Match facilitates unrelated marrow and blood stem cell transplants as a single point of access for a long-standing collaborative network of national and international leading medical facilities in marrow and cord blood transplantation. Be The Match connects patients, doctors, donors and researchers to the resources they need to help more people live longer and healthier lives. For more information call 1 (800) MARROW-2 or visit