Pickerington Times-Sun

Be the Match 5K

Aug. 17 race proclaims need for bone marrow donors

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Emily Reincheld crosses the finish line under her own power during the 2012 Be the Match 5K walk and run. Her father, Victor, pushed her in a wheelchair until she neared the finish line. Reincheld, a Pickerington resident, received a successful bone marrow transplant earlier this year and plans to participate in the Be the Match 5K on Saturday, Aug. 17, at Bicentennial Park, 233 Civic Center Drive in Columbus.

A central Ohio woman who earlier this year received a successful bone marrow transplant plans to participate in the second Columbus Be the Match 5K walk and run Saturday, Aug. 17, at Bicentennial Park, 233 Civic Center Drive in Columbus.

"I'm not a vampire any more," said Emily Reincheld, 22, a graduate of Pickerington High School North, about no longer needing frequent blood transfusions.

The 5K raises money for bone marrow transplants and research and is intended to increase awareness about the need for donors.

Reincheld was pushed in a wheelchair for most of the event in July 2012, but this year, she said she will walk and run on her own.

"I'm excited to be on my feet for this year's walk and run," said Reincheld, who recently returned to work at Cup O' Joe in Bexley.

Reincheld said she will be joined in the 5K by her family and friends.

Last year, Reincheld's sister, Katie Curry, 25, organized "Emily's Entourage," a group of about 30 family members and friends.

They were the largest group at the event and want to repeat the effort this year, but with a different outlook and goal.

Shortly after her 21st birthday in May 2012, Reincheld was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia, a condition in which bone marrow does not produce enough new cells to replenish blood cells.

Curry and two younger brothers each expected to donate the bone marrow their sister needed to survive, but they were not matches.

From May to December last year, Reincheld underwent several failed treatments but early this year, she learned of a matching donor.

She was admitted March 9 to the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital at the Ohio State University for pretreatments, including chemotherapy and radiation, and received the bone marrow transplant March 14.

She remained hospitalized for a month after the procedure.

"I'm a normal human being again," Reincheld said.

She said she has to wait one year before she can learn the identity of her donor. The Be the Match Foundation, which keeps a registry of bone marrow donors, facilitates an introduction after one year if both the donor and patient wish to meet.

"I definitely want to know my donor," said Reincheld, whose family has already sent anonymous thank you letters to her donor.

Meanwhile, she said, she and her family are helping the Be the Match Foundation reach this year's goal of 600 participants in the 5K and a fundraising goal of $60,000.

Last year, 494 participants raised $52,000, said Marshall Brown, an account executive with Be the Match.

The Columbus Be the Match event is one of 13 in the United States this year and the only in Ohio, Brown said.

"The next nearest is either St. Louis or Richmond (Va.)," Brown said.

Registration for the 5K begins at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 17 at Bicentennial Park. Advance registration is available at bethematchwalkrun.org.

The 5K walk and run begins at 10 a.m. A1K will begin immediately after the field of 5K walkers and runners departs.

Entry to the 5K is $30. The 1K entry fee is $15 and a children's run, which begins at 9:45 a.m., is $10.