Uncle Don is heartbroken. His nephew, Aaron, has spent the entire summer at Texas Children’s Hospital in Huston receiving chemotherapy to fight Juvenile Xanthogranuloma, a cancer-like disease with an unknown and no good therapies available – and all Aaron wants to do is get home to his 4th grade class and play football.

Doctors treating Aaron are hopeful that where cancer fighting drugs have failed, alternate medicines and a bone marrow transplant may get Aaron back on the ball field.

Instead of wringing his hands a thousand miles away while Aaron is in the hospital, Uncle Don (U.S. Army Reserve Command’s Cpt. Donald Fontaine) decided to rally the Fort Bragg community, to honor his nephew’s tough fight and sign up potential donors in the national Bone Marrow Registry, to offer greater chances for recovery to other patients like his nephew.

Fontaine partnered with Womack Army Medical Center and the Department of Defense Marrow Program to hold a blood drive and marrow donor registration event the Fort Bragg Blood Donor Center Oct. 23.

Fontaine hopes to continue registering members of the Fort Bragg community into the bone marrow registry.

“I would love to be involved, somehow. It’s not about me, it’s about people who need it – in this case my nephew,” Fontaine said.

Within the first several hours, more than 15 individuals had registered for the bone marrow program and many donated blood.

As for Aaron? The new medications have just been given and more tests will run in the next week or two to see if his body is reacting well enough to continue the treatment or seek other options.

“We’re saying some prayers that this is the right answer,” Fontaine said.