After 11 years on the job, Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Battalion Chief Kevin Wise has battled countless fires and done his part to save lives. Now, after being diagnosed with leukemia in September, the decorated fire veteran and two-time City of Oakdale Firefighter of the Year is looking for his own hero to match him for a bone marrow donation as he contends with his biggest battle yet.
BloodSource, an organization committed to collecting, testing, processing and delivering blood and blood components, will be hosting a “Be The Match” registry on Friday, Dec. 11 at the Bianchi Community Center at 110 S. Second Ave., Oakdale, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. An additional registry will be on Saturday, Dec. 12 at the Modesto Junior College Regional Fire Training Center at 1220 Fire Science Way in Modesto from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Potential Be The Match registrants must be between the ages of 18 and 44 years old, meet eligibility guidelines, and make a good faith commitment to donating to any person in need if matched. Paperwork and a simple swab of the tissue on the inside of the cheek complete the registration process.
Actually anyone between the ages of 18 and 60 can join the Be The Match Registry but, according to BloodSource, patients especially need donors who are between the ages of 18 and 44 because younger donors produce more and higher-quality cells than older donors.
Wise, married to wife Tara and with two children, previously was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2011 and fought it off, having it go into remission. He is currently undergoing treatment to prepare for his marrow transplant once he finds his donor.
Wise started out as a reserve firefighter with the Oakdale Fire Department in 2004. On Sept. 1, 2005 he was hired as a full time firefighter and in September of 2007, he promoted to the rank of engineer. Two years later, in April 2009, he promoted to the position of relief specialist and then to captain in December of that year. In July 2012, he promoted to Battalion Chief with the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District as it assumed administrative fire duties for the City of Oakdale. In addition, Wise also volunteers with the Woodland Avenue Fire Protection District.
Wise was voted Oakdale Firefighter of the Year by his peers in 2009 and 2012.
Since 1987, Be The Match Registry has facilitated more than 50,000 transplants and now has more than 10 million potential donors.
Through BloodSource, more than 100,000 people have joined Be The Match. Thousands have been contacted as potential marrow matches giving hope to patients and hundreds have donated marrow or blood stem cells to save lives.