MICKLETON, N.J. (WPVI) -- "Ashley is one of the sweetest people that I've ever met," said Shawn Keating, a mom with young children in the East Greenwich Township area. "She always has a smile, like willing to stop and chat..."
Unfortunately, Keating and her fellow moms have not been able to see Ashley Peddle for quite some time. Late last year, the 37-year-old mom of four was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.
"She was in the hospital for over a month," said Keating. "Four young kids, you can't, like, see them because of COVID and everything, so it had to be so hard."
Despite the tragic news, Peddle was lucky to find a bone marrow match with her brother. However, the pairing is not yet set in stone. That's why community members like Keating organized a drive-thru bone marrow registration event to help Peddle and others in her situation.
"I joined the registry when I was 19," said Breanna Amborn. "About six months later, I found out I was a match."
Amborn recalls the process being relatively easy compared to what her match was dealing with. There was no surgery involved in her scenario, like many others. With a needle in each arm, experts separated stem cells from her bloodstream.
"They were 50 years old at the time and they're healthy today," said Amborn about her match. "We still communicate."
Every story about bone marrow registration is an opportunity to emphasize the need for diversity among donors.
"If a patient is white, their chances of finding a match are 77%," said Amborn. "On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, if a patient is Black or African American, they only have a 23% chance."
Amborn hopes that stories like these will not only encourage everyone to register, but also to educate and dispel myths that turn potential donors away.
"That's just the goal here. Equal outcomes for all," she said.
Guests who were unable to attend today's event can still participate from home by texting "PeddleStrong" to 61474 or by visiting their website.