BRENTWOOD -- Every year 14-year-old Britton Swisher celebrates the day he received a bone-marrow transplant from his older sister, Brooke.
In 2005, the Swisher family discovered that Brooke, now 19 and in college, was the perfect match for then 7-year-old Britton, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. That same year, a community blood drive held in his honor resulted in 139 donated units of usable blood.
"She was happy that it was her and we both knew that it was going to be her," said Britton, who is now a sophomore at Heritage High School and cancer-free with a full life expectancy.
On Aug. 25, Britton will host a bone marrow match drive at the Brentwood LDS Church to find more donors for the national bone marrow registry. Organizing the drive has become the Brentwood youth's Eagle Scout project.
"I have always wanted to become an Eagle Scout, but I didn't know what my project would be until I had cancer," he said last week. "There is such a small chance to find a match and save as many lives as possible. I want to get more people on the list."
Since Britton got out of the hospital, he has heard about other people dying from the same type of cancer. He said that there is a 25 percent chance of a sibling being a match, which is the highest chance possible.
"I do feel very lucky," said the Boy Scout in Troop 927. "The reason why I want to do it is to make as many people as possible feel lucky too."
"He has an outgoing personality and is very open to learning, meeting new people and trying new things," Beckstrand said.
According to Beckstrand, one of the challenges that Britton is facing in organizing the drive is overcoming people's misconceptions about the bone marrow match test, which is just a mouth swab. Potential donors must be at least 18 years old and testing is free.
"It is no longer a painful process like in the old days," Beckstrand explained.
In addition to getting the word out through posters, bulletin boards and Facebook, Britton pledged to raise money for the Be the Match Foundation as part of his project. Britton said that local supporters are already helping his cause by donating money and offering support.
"A lot of people that helped us out going through it are helping out now again," Britton said. "Scouts has taught me how to be responsible, be a leader, accomplish stuff and work as a team."
Contact Paula King at 925-779-7174.
What: Bone marrow drive
When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 25
Where: 1101 McClarren Road, Brentwood
Info: 925--301-6105 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To make a donation, go to www.bethematchfoundation.org/goto/brittonswisher.