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Family Hopes for Match Among Milwaukee’s Irish-American Community

Milwaukee Irish Fest and BloodCenter of Wisconsin are partnering to help six-year-old Jake Larkin of Milwaukee find a match for a life-saving marrow transplant during the largest Irish festival in North America. The organizations will host the Match Jake Marrow Drive from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, in the cultural pavilion at Milwaukee Irish Fest, located on the south end of the Henry W. Maier Festival Park (Summerfest grounds), 200 N. Lakeshore Dr., Milwaukee.

This past February Jake was diagnosed with severe Aplastic Anemia, a rare condition that prevents his bone marrow from producing enough blood cells. An estimated three in one million people are diagnosed with the rare disease in the U.S. annually. The only cure is a bone marrow transplant.

Jake and his family have since moved from California to Wisconsin so that he could receive treatment from Dr. David Margolis, a doctor at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and a leading expert in blood and marrow transplants. And now Jake’s family is asking for help from Milwaukee’s Irish-American community to find a bone marrow match for Jake.

Marrow transplants have the highest success rate when the donor has a similar ethnic background. Given the Larkin family’s Irish ancestry, the hope is that a marrow match can be found among Milwaukee’s Irish-American community. To learn more about Jake’s story, visit

Two additional blood and marrow drives will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 9 and Friday, Aug. 17 on the second floor in the space formerly occupied by Old Navy at the Shops of Grand Avenue, 275 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee.
As a special thank you, all attempting donors at the Grand Avenue Mall drives will receive an admission ticket to Milwaukee Irish Fest, Aug. 16-19. The ticket can be used at any time, on any day throughout the festival.

To make an appointment for any of the drives, call 1-877-BE-A-HERO (1-877-232-4376) or (414) 937-6199 or visit

Anyone 18- to 60-years-old and in relatively good health can join the marrow registry. For questions about donor eligibility, contact BloodCenter of Wisconsin at (414) 937-6388 or 1-866-702-HOPE (866-702-4673) or visit

About BloodCenter of Wisconsin
BloodCenter of Wisconsin is a private, not-for-profit organization that specializes in blood services, organ and tissue recovery, marrow donation, diagnostic testing, medical services and leading-edge research. BloodCenter of Wisconsin is the only provider of blood to hospitals in 29 Wisconsin counties. BloodCenter of Wisconsin advances patient care by delivering life-saving solutions grounded in unparalleled medical and scientific expertise. For more information, visit

About Milwaukee Irish Fest
Milwaukee Irish Fest is North America’s largest celebration of Irish music and culture. The four-day festival, which occurs every third weekend in August, showcases more than 100 entertainment acts on 16-stages. The 2012 festival takes place Aug. 16 – 19.

More than just a festival, the Milwaukee Irish Fest organization is passionately committed to igniting a love of Irish culture in all people. With the help of more than 4,000 volunteers, Milwaukee Irish Fest teaches Ireland’s music, dance, drama, sports, culture, children’s activities and genealogy through year-round programming.

For more information, visit

Permalink - Posted: August 15, 2012 at 11:14 am