JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Before last year, Amanda Paffe had a lot to smile about. She was a college grad and mom of four -- with a bright life ahead of her.
Now, she's in desperate need of an unknown hero.
‘When I see someone come up to the table, it could be the one,” she said.
The "one" is Paffe's perfect bone marrow match. There's no cure for her bone disease, except a transplant. That’s why the group Be The Match set up shop at the University of North Florida to test potential donors.
Wes Caton is one of them.
“I had someone donate blood and I had blood transplants when I was a kid, so I figured I could try to give back and help somebody out,” he explained.
Paffe is grateful. Myelofibrosis has taken a big toll on her life -- emotionally and financially. She's unable to work, and as a single mom, it's tough.
Helping her can be as easy as swabbing your mouth with a cotton swab. Technology has come a long way, so if your DNA is a match, surgeons use your blood, not painful bone marrow.
“That’s my life right there. That's my ability to stay alive for my children and go back to work one day. You could save a child's life, a mother's life, a father's life. I mean, this is someone who matters to a family,” Paffe said.
You can order a free test at bethematch.org.
UNF’s drive lasts through Thursday in front of the Student Union Center. If you can’t make it, another testing drive will be held this Saturday at the North Florida School For Special Education off Mill Creek Road in Arlington.