Martinez police and the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center held a bone marrow drive Thursday to support a sergeant battling cancer.

Sgt. Brian Carter, a 36-year-old father of two, and 10-year veteran of the department, was diagnosed last year with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Carter’s cancer went into remission after he underwent chemotherapy and radiation, but returned recently. He will undergo a stem cell transplant at Stanford Hospital, but if that fails, he will need to find a marrow donor, according to Martinez Police commander Gary Peterson.

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“Brian would like to be at the event, but he’s currently undergoing treatment and could not be on site,” Martinez police commander Gary Peterson. “He has been here 10 years as a sworn police officer and has been promoted through the ranks. He’s a sergeant who is in charge of our arrainged staff, he’s the assistant team leader on the SWAT team. He’s a fun-loving hard-working guy, and he’s a family guy who has two small boys.”

Peterson said that the drive is also for the thousands of other patients in need of marrow donations.

At the drive, anyone ages 18 to 60 who met health guidelines was added to the marrow registry, according to spokeswoman for the National Marrow Donor “Be The Change” Program, Kirsten Lesak-Greenberg. Those registrants had a small swab of cheek cells taken to determine their “tissue type.”

Although the most likely donor match for the patient will be a sibling, about 70 percent of patients won’t find a tissue type match in their family, Lesak-Greenberg said.

Anyone interested in registering to be a donor can also do so online at, she said.

Most of the time, a marrow donation does not involve a surgical procedure, but about 25 percent of the time a donor will undergo a surgical procedure in which liquid marrow is taken from the hip, Lesak-Greenberg said.

General anesthesia is always used for this procedure, and Lesak-Greenberg said that donors who undergo this procedure often say that you “feel like you fell on your butt on the ice” for a few days, but nothing too serious.

Only 5 percent or less of a donor’s marrow is needed to save a life, and after the donation the body replaces this donated marrow within four to six weeks, according to the National Marrow Donor Program.

The Contra Costa Regional Medical Center is also organizing today’s drive event in conjunction with the Martinez Police Department. It will take place from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today at the Martinez City Council Chambers at 525 Henrietta St.

The Police Department is also planning a fundraiser for Carter on Aug. 14 at the Martinez Yacht Club.


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