June 19, 2018
Local Coast Guard Crew Members Sign
Up For Salute To Life Bone Marrow Registry
By PA3 Corrie Smith
The village of Hatteras is a tight-knit Outer Banks community. The type that when bad news hits, it affects everyone.
When one of the members of the community, Coast Guard Auxiliarist,
friend and mentor to the crews at local Coast Guard stations, was
diagnosed with cancer, it was hard for everyone to digest.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Catherine Gallagher, a boatswain’s mate at
Station Hatteras Inlet, was one of the many affected by the news.
“There had to be more I could do,” said Gallagher. “Maybe not an
immediate fix, but hope for people who selflessly give support to
others and deserve that second chance at life.”
After turning to the internet, searching and doing research, Gallagher
said it was as if the computer knew what she was looking for. A site
called Salute to Life popped up in one of her social media news feeds.
Since 1991, the Salute to Life program has been working with active
duty, reservists, military dependents and Department of Defense
civilian employees to build a database of potential donors and enable
bone marrow matches. More than 1 million people have joined the
National Marrow Donor Registry through this program, taking the first
step to saving a life.
Gallagher contacted the Salute to Life staff and was immediately drawn
to their mission and their enthusiasm to help her help others. This was
what she wanted to do.
She reached out to her shipmates at nearby Station Oregon Inlet, who agreed to host the donor drive.
On June 6, 21 crew members from Station Hatteras Inlet and Oregon Inlet
came together to serve others by adding their name to the registry.
“The Coast Guard is filled with members who joined the service to help
save lives,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Christopher Wright,
officer in charge of Station Hatteras Inlet. “Petty Officer Gallagher
took that desire to help one step further.”
Salute to Life has been able to facilitate 8,100 bone marrow and stem
cell donations, providing 8,100 individuals diagnosed with diseases
like leukemia or lymphoma a second chance at life.
“Bone marrow donation may not be the first thing that comes to mind
when thinking about helping others,” said Gallagher. “But it’s
definitely a lifesaving option.”
“The Salute to Life program is amazing because it falls right in line
with our core values,” said Seaman Michael Karousos, a Station Hatteras
Inlet crew member who also registered at the event. “Devotion to duty,
serving others. This is just one more way we can help save lives.”
For those not affiliated with the military, Be the Match – a program
also operated by the National Marrow Donor Program – manages the
largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world.
“I am extremely proud of Petty Officer Gallagher for putting on this
incredibly important event,” concluded Wright. “I hope that through her
efforts, and the many members who volunteered to participate, doctors
will be able to find matches for some of the 20,000 people who are
diagnosed every year with illnesses that require blood producing stem