[Photo credit: Rachel Naomi]
Earlier this year, GWAR guitarist Michael Derks, better known by his stage name, BälSäc the Jaws ‘o Death, shared that he’s battling a rare bone marrow disorder that’ll require a bone marrow transplant.
And in response, GWAR fans have done all they can to help by signing up for the bone marrow donation registry—and, in the process, bumping the band to No. 1 for the sheer amount of people they've gotten to sign up.
The band teamed up with an organization called Love Hope Strength to encourage fans to sign up to be a potential bone marrow donor—and it turns out thousands of fans have signed up.
“They’re the Number 1 band we’ve had on our virtual drive,” Rob Rushing, Love Hope Strength’s national tour manager, told Richmond Times-Dispatch. “We’ve partnered with Ozzy Osbourne, all kinds of bands, and GWAR right now has more people signed up for the virtual drive than anyone else by far.”
The Richmond Times-Dispatch report that at GWAR concerts, fans are being asked to swab their cheeks so they can be entered into the national database, and at this point, 3,000 people have registered so far.
“Their fans care, they care for Michael and they want to save lives,” Rushing says.
Derks announced that he had been diagnosed with myelofibrosis, explaining that he experienced “extreme fatigue and weakness” on Warped Tour this summer, and after being treated for severe anemia and receiving a series of blood tests, was diagnosed.
Without treatment, he’d only survive another three to five years, doctors say. However, with a bone marrow transplant, he could have a chance of curing the condition.
I will hopefully have the transplant early next year. I will spend a month in the hospital and then at least a year in recovery, where my immune system will be practically non-existent. The procedure has a mortality rate of 30%, but the Massey Center has brought this down to around 15%. With my family's help and the support of my friends, I will beat this.
We happen to think it’s incredible to see just how many fans are hoping to save lives, and our thoughts are with Derks as he continues his fight with myelofibrosis.
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