James Chippendale found new meaning in life after a battle with leukemia. Now he's trying to give other people the second chance he had, by raising awareness about -- and donations of -- bone marrow.
The now 42-year-old hadn't given much thought to philanthropy when he younger. He started his own entertainment insurance company at the age of 24 and had made a life of living it up until he was diagnosed with leukemia seven years later.
"In one second, I go from living the high life, thinking the world is just there for me to go have fun to, guess what, you're going to start chemotherapy tomorrow, and guess what you have leukemia," Chippendale said in an interview with CBS.
Since Chippendale was fortunate enough to find a bone marrow donor, he has made it his mission to find donors for others. He founded the Love Hope Strength Foundation (LHSF), which performs concerts across the globe to highlight the need for donors, dispel myths about donating marrow -- such as that it's very painful (technological advances have made it so that it's not) -- and conduct bone marrow drives. Chippendale says they've added 20,000 new donors to an international marrow registry.
According to the Dallas Morning News, the international registry of about 12 million people serves those who require bone marrow transplants (people suffering from blood cancers or sickle-cell diseases). Only four in 10 people find a match.
Chippendale's story, and that of two other men searching for bone marrow matches, are the subject of the documentary, "More To Live For," which has been premiering at film festivals across the country. The "More To Live For" site describes the documentary and its intended effect:
"These deeply personal accounts of confronting illness will inspire hope and action, leaving the viewer empowered to become part of the cure."
WATCH THE TRAILER:
How You Can Help
Ten minutes of your time might save a life. If you're eligible and want to be considered as a donor, all it takes is a registration form, a consent form and a cheek swab to be added to the registry of donors. Take the first step toward saving the life of a patient in need. Click here to get on the list.
The Love Hope Strength Foundation hosts drives and events throughout the country, where you can register to be a donor, find out more about the process and support LHSF's mission. Enjoy a concert or festival while supporting this life-saving organization. Find an event near you.
You can also volunteer your time to help LHSF recruit donors. LHSF wouldn't have been able to register 20,000 new donors without volunteers, known as "roadies". To find out how to become a roadie, visit LHSF's volunteer page.