CNU students rally to help sick friend

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A group of Christopher Newport University students put down their phones and picked up some cotton swabs for a friend.

They organized a donor drive in honor of their friend, CJ Buechner.  “On December 31 I got a message from him on my way to go out for New Year’s that he was diagnosed with leukemia,” Chase Worley told WAVY.com

Worley’s world changed that day when his best friend, who just months ago was fighting on the lacrosse field, began fighting for his life. “I was pretty distraught, I didn’t do anything for New Years I just went home and figured out how I was going to get to him.”

CJ is now with family in Wisconsin waiting for a bone marrow transplant. His girlfriend, Keni Nodland, goes to see him once a month.

“It’s amazing he doesn’t sit there and wallow in his sorrows, he’s really strong,” she said.

During the donor drive on campus, students simply filled out a form and swabbed their cheek for DNA. A total of 391 people registered at the drive on Thursday

They will now be added to a nationwide registry. “It’s a simple process to join the registry, it’s a simple gift to be a donor, but it is an amazing thing to do,” said Dan Gariepy from Be The Match.

What else is amazing, Worley said they did it all without their phones.  “This way it doesn’t have him on social media promoting it and people thinking it might be about that it’s us doing it for him.”

CJ didn’t even know they were doing it. “You don’t always need to show people you’re doing the good thing, you just kind of need to do it,” Nodland said.  She said they can’t wait to hear his reaction, “He’s going to be so surprised and so happy to know that people are doing this because of him.”

Gariepy told 10 On Your Side that about 100 people a day call the organization looking for a match.  He said most who donate give stem cells. there’s no surgery required. The process is pretty much like donating blood. Some do undergo

surgery to donate marrow. Those people usually recover in a day or two.

You can learn more about becoming a donor on bethematch.org

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