Albany -- A young Albany man's life changed the day he was diagnosed with cancer. At one point, he thought he was once again cancer free but the disease came back. Now he's in desperate need of a bone marrow donor. The problem? There aren't many to choose from.
"Think about who it is in the world you love the most. It could be your daughter. It could be your mother," said Stacy Toney to Mt. Zion's congregation one Sunday morning.
This isn't your usual church service at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. It's a service filled with questions--what if's.
"What if it happened to someone you loved the most and you couldn't do anything about it?," asked Toney.
But there's an answer of hope in the pulpit.
"I've got a lot to live for," said Desmond Day to the congregation.
The 27-year-old Day is hoping and praying for a cure. It's his second bout with cancer. "I had to take a stem cell transplant which they said was going to cure my cancer. Well, after six months it came back," said Day.
Day is one of the more than 71,000 people in the United States who are diagnosed with lymphoma each year. Now that it's back again, he continues to look at life differently. "You take everyday like it's the last. You don't take anything for granted. You get closer to God," said Day.
And now he's anxious to get closer to a new beginning but he needs a bone marrow donor.
That's why he's urging his congregation to help. "Because of the lack of African-American donors, it's hard for me to find a match," said Day.
"On the National Marrow Donors Program registry, we have at least 6.5 plus million, however less than half a million are Black or African-American," said Stacey Toney, of the National Marrow Donor Foundation.
The best match usually comes from someone within your own race. So these church members are filling up tables, racing to rescue Day from his disease. They're filling out forms, and swabbing their mouths, hoping to be a match. "Temporary sacrifices to give somebody life," said Toney.
It's a simple procedure with just the promise of going through with a choice of two simple processes if matched. Day is optimistic his match is out there somewhere.
"I hope so. But even if it's not for me, it's for somebody else out there in the world," said Day.
Here in this church world, "We're going to be here until the last person signs up that's interested."
A little faith on a Sunday morning could lead to a lymphoma free life, again.
At Mount Zion, nearly 200 swabbed their mouths to see if they were a match for Desmond and join the donor registry. About 100 more did the same during donor drives at Albany Tech.