Milwaukee firefighters ask that you join national bone marrow donor registry as they support “1 of our brothers”

MILWAUKEE -- Firefighters are willing to run into a burning building if they have to, but it doesn’t always take such dangerous action to save a life.

“You sign up and you get your cheek swabbed -- and it’s that easy. It was super easy," said Milwaukee Firefighter Julian Hopgood.

The Milwaukee Professional Firefighters Association Local 215 and the BloodCenter of Wisconsin are hosting a 3-day bone marrow drive. Firefighters and community members are asked to join the national Be the Match donor registry.

“The really neat thing is if you’re a match for a patient in the future, you might be the only match for that patient in the whole world," said Danielle Savick, Marrow Donor program representative for the BloodCenter of Wisconsin.

Many of the new donors Monday, January 8th were there because of one man.

“Brian is one of our brothers, and we take care of our brothers here" Hopgood said.

Brian Cox

Milwaukee Firefighter Brian Cox was diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in October 2016. He’s gone through chemotherapy and different rounds of drug trials.

“They’ve worked for a while and then they’ve stopped, and then they would work and stop," said Cox.

His best bet now is a bone marrow donation.

“Of the roughly 30 million people or so that are currently on the registry, there’s no match for me," said Cox.

But new donors mean new hope for the 38-year-old Cox, and others in his situation.

“I’m a relatively young guy and there’s so much that I want to accomplish in life still. There’s no reason not to be optimistic and think that it’s going to happen and it’s going to work," said Cox.

“You’re not only signing up for Brian, but there’s thousands of 'Brians' out there, and you’re just giving hope to all those patients," said Savick.