RMMS hosting marrow donor registry drive for former teacher

Many students, in particular the senior class at Hollis Brookline High School, have fond memories of their time in elementary school with former environmental education teacher Kathi Bond. Whether they were pretending to be animals on the Brookline playground to act out the food chain, or visiting a bog to learn about the different types of moss, Bond inspired a love of the natural world in every student who was lucky enough to have her. Now, her students agree: it’s time to give back.

Four years ago, Bond was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, and while she has fought hard, her cancer has not responded to any therapies and she is now in need of a donor stem cell transplant. Currently, there are no matches for Bond in the donor registry, so Richard Maghakian Memorial School is hosting a marrow donor registry drive from 3:30-7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 11.

Brookline students are working to rally the troops to get as many people tested as possible.

“I always remember Mrs. Bond being so sweet to us when we had environmental class with her, and I think it’s so important to give back to her because she really deserves it,” said senior Abby Lewis.

People ages 18 to 44 may come to the event to get their cheek swabbed and to join the donation registry. Those under 18 may join the registry online at the event, which is a $100 tax deductible donation. There will be raffles with prizes such as gift cards, baskets and yoga classes, with all proceeds from the raffles going to help the Bonds’ with the costs of her treatment. Additionally, a station will be set up where you can write notes of love and encouragement to Bond.

Katie Milewski, a second grade teacher at RMMS who has helped Bond’s two daughters organize the event, stressed the direness of Bond’s situation and encourages everyone to spread the word, because this event is not the only time you can help.

“Anyone anywhere can register and have a cheek swab kit sent to their house, and they just have to mail it back,” she said.

Please come and support a teacher who has so deeply enriched the lives of her students, and if you cannot make the event, donate online and be sure to spread the word. You or someone you know could be the match she needs.

This column is written by Nicole Poitras, a senior at Hollis Brookline High School. She was among 51 high school journalists representing all 50 states and Washington, D.C., who attended the Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference in Washington in June.