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Lombard resident with rare disease to lead bone marrow drive Sunday

Developing a rare disease has inspired a Lombard resident to lead her own bone marrow drive Sunday.

Dana Pelz, 21, said she was looking to start her post-graduate life at a corporate job in Minneapolis when she was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia in December.

The bone marrow disease affects between 600 and 900 people per year worldwide, according to

Pelz completed her anti-thymocyte globulin treatment only to find it ineffective after six months. She proceeded to look for a bone marrow donor. Pelz, who is Caucasian, said that with ethnicity and gender weighing in, "I was lucky to find a donor."

Pelz went to social media in hopes of finding connections with people. Seeing others from around the world who faced similar circumstances, she knew more action was necessary. Pelz's struggle and recent donor match inspired her to host her own bone marrow drive.

Needing a host for the drive, she considered the local high school and park district but decided a more suitable location sits in an busier area – like Main Street in Lombard.

In early July, her brother came home with a free pint of custard after donating blood at Culver's/LifeSource blood drive.

"I loved the idea of donating a pint for a pint. It's matter of finding the right fit," she said.

After inquiring with Culver's owner Scott Martenson, Pelz had found the location for her bone marrow drive.

"Culver's believes everyone needs to be part of the community and we do that on a daily basis," Martenson said.

But it's about more than just being a part of the community, according to Martenson, who emphasized the need to also act responsibly.

Culver's of Lombard will host the LifeSource-operated drive from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday at 1155 S. Main St., and donors will receive free pint coupons.

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