INDIANAPOLIS — The community is answering a call to help a pastor who is battling leukemia.
Days before Christmas, Pastor Arvery Bush is praying for a miracle that he can find a bone marrow match to help cure the disease he was diagnosed with on July 5, 2019. People showed up Sunday to help find that match.
"The truth is I always through I was a healthy person. July 5 told me I wasn't as healthy as I thought," he said.
The pastor of Christian Faith Baptist Church has endured several rounds of chemotherapy knowing the cancer will likely keep coming back without a bone marrow transplant.
"It's hard to put into words because you never expect something like this to happen to you personally. It does and it can. I am a witness that it can," Pastor Bush said.
There is currently no match on the National Stem Cell Donor registry for Pastor Bush. Since RTV6's story first aired Wednesday, Be The Match has received 120 online registrations and 50 more people showed up Sunday to a bone marrow registry drive.
"I'm so thankful how everyone has showed their support, coming out, praying and calling and (asking), 'What can we do? What do we have to do?'" Tawanda Bush, Pastor Bush's wife, said. "It's been a humbling experience."
Natasha Brooks is one person who is responding to the call to help.
"He's a great pastor," Brooks said. "I have gone to his church since I was a kid. He's done a lot for his community. He also married me and my husband. This is a way to give back to him."
According to Be The Match, African-Americans only represent 7% of the National Stem Cell Donor Registry. The chance of finding a donor if you are African-American is only 23% compared to 77% for Caucasians.
"There are thousands of patients every year that are suffering from blood cancer or a blood disorder that need a transplant," Nichole Wearing said. "So many of those patients don't have a match on the registry."
Be The Match wants people to know that signing up on the registry is simple. It takes five minutes to register and take two swabs of your cheek to collect your cells. It's five minutes that could help save a life. Pastor Bush and his loved ones hope it's his.
"I'm still here," Pastor Bush said. "There is still hope."
You can register for the stem cell donor registry by going to join.bethematch.org/pastorbush or by texting PASTORBUSH to 61474. After that, you will be sent a kit in the mail to complete your swab test.