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Help Save A Navy SEAL!

RE:  Small Spheres of Influence

Via Banter in Atlanter, we need help spreading the word in the New Jersey area.  A Navy SEAL (and OIF Veteran) needs a stem cell bone marrow transplant in order to live.  On July 15th, there will be a free and painless (cheek swab) testing to see if there is anyone who can match the SEAL.

Time is running out, let's spread the word!

From the East Brunswick, NJ, Sentinel (be sure to read the SEAL's quote at the end of the article):

Family, Navy team up to find marrow donor 
Navy SEAL from Spotswood was recently diagnosed with leukemia

Navy SEALJustin

SPOTSWOOD - A young man who fought for his country is now battling for his life.

And on July 15, local residents will have the opportunity to help him do just that.

Justin, whose last name is not being disclosed at the request of the U.S. Department of Defense, is a Navy SEAL and former Spotswood resident who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. The Navy is turning to Justin's hometown community to help him find a bone marrow stem cell donor who could save his life.

Justin is fairly well-known in the area. At Spotswood High School, he was president of his class, salutatorian and an accomplished athlete, competing in track, football and wrestling. Justin was captain of the wrestling team and became the first wrestler from Spotswood to reach the second round of the New Jersey State Wrestling Tournament. He then became a state district champion at 160 pounds.

After high school, Justin attended the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and became a Navy SEAL in 2002. He was deployed twice and served a seven-month combat tour during Operation Iraqi Freedom, before returning to spend the past two years assigned to a special boat team in Mississippi.

Now 27 and recently married, Justin was diagnosed June 2 with acute lymphocyte leukemia, a fast-growing cancer that destroys the platelets and red and white blood cells. Without appropriate treatment, patients often die within months of the onset of the illness. Chemotherapy and radiation are usually the first line of defense.

Unfortunately, like many adults with this disease, Justin's treatment is complicated by the presence of the Philadelphia chromosome. As a result, his best chance of survival lies in a bone marrow stem cell transplant.

"Often, siblings are matches for transplants, but neither myself nor my sister are a match," said Justin's sister, Jodi Pinedo of East Windsor. "The odds of finding an unrelated match are one in 25,000."

That is why in addition to other donor searches conducted by the Navy SEALs, the family and the Navy are now reaching out locally for help.

On Saturday, July 15, there will be a one-day donor search sponsored by the C.W. Bill Young Department of Defense Marrow Donor Program at Spotswood High School, 105 Summerhill Road from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"Being tested is simple and painless," Pinedo noted. "It's just a swab to the inside of the cheek. If you're a match, they will call you."

Those who volunteer will be registered with the Defense Department's marrow donor program and may also be contacted about other patients if there is a match.

Eddy Medina, senior recruiter for the donor program, said volunteers need to be healthy and between the ages of 18 and 60, but "the guidelines for donating marrow are more liberal than those for donating blood. People should come in and have the sample done. If they are a match, they will receive a medical exam to ensure they are healthy enough to donate."

According to Medina, sometimes doctors decide patients who are ill only need stem cells. In that case, the donation process is similar to donating blood. Blood is taken from one arm, the stem cells are removed, and the rest of the blood goes back in the other arm. Other times, marrow is taken from the hip of the donor while they are under general anesthesia.

"If anyone has questions about the donation process or whether or not they are a good candidate to be a donor, they can ask me on Saturday," Medina said. "I will be at the drive. Prior to that, people can call me at (800) 627-7693, ext. 223, with any concerns."

According to his father, Charles, Justin decided to be come a Navy SEAL as early as the seventh grade.

"He just came up with it on his own. I didn't push him in that direction. He has just always been very determined and goal oriented."

Justin was one of 83 applicants from a pool of 1,500 who were accepted for initial SEAL training, and one of only 32 who successfully completed the program.

At present, he is being treated at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., with his father and mother, Diane, and Justin's wife, Suzanne, often by his side.

His sister said Justin is in good spirits.

"When he was told that there was only a 30 percent chance of recovery, he replied, 'That's good. There was only a 10 percent chance of me becoming a SEAL,' " Pinedo said.

For more information about the donor drive on Saturday, readers can call Pinedo at (609) 918-0905. More information about being a marrow donor is available on the Web site For information about acute lymphocyte leukemia, visit

UPDATE:  Please check the Comments as Adele has provided a lot of information and ALTERNATE locations for testing to see if you can help this SEAL and others!

Jul 10  ASBC Maxwell AFB, AL Major Greg Caudle (334) 953- 3246 

Jul 13  COMNAVBEACHGRU ONE Chief Mellish (619) 437 3632 

Jul 14 Naval Base Norfolk, VA NEX LT. G Adams (757) 282-5546 x 3325 

Jul 14  Naval Base Little Creek, VA NEX LT. G Adams (757) 282-5546 x 3325 

Jul 15  Spotswood HS, Spotswood, NJ Ms Jodi Pinedo (609) 918-0905 

Jul 21  Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Sgt Robinson 0160-518-564

Update:  Consolidated information on a new post.  Thanks, Adelle!