Salem School hosting bone marrow donor drive

Salem School is holding a bone marrow donor drive on Wednesday, May 24, to help one of its youngest students in her fourth battle with cancer.

The donor drive will be held from noon to 6 p.m. at the Salem Volunteer Fire Company, 424 Hartford Road.

Brynn Levitsky, a kindergartener at Salem School, is undergoing chemotherapy at Yale-New Haven Hospital and will need a second bone marrow transplant when she is in remission.

Now 6 years old, she was first diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia when she was 22 months old. As a result, her mother, Kara, has had to take multiple leaves of absence from her job teaching preschool at the Friendship School in Waterford.

The Levitsky family has received an outpouring of support, including $5,000 from Cops for Kids with Cancer and several fundraising events, to help pay for medical care and transportation to Yale-New Haven Hospital for treatment.

Tanya Wenke, social worker at Salem School, is working with the Be the Match Registry to coordinate the donor drive, which is open to anyone in good health between the ages of 18 and 44.

She said the registration process takes a few minutes and only requires a cheek swab, allowing prospective donors to stop in during their lunch break or after school. Donors are then entered into a nationwide registry and are notified when they are a match for someone in need of a bone marrow transplant.

Volunteers at the donor drive will be accepting monetary donations to purchase gas and food cards for the Levitskys.

Bridge Market in Groton also is raising money for the family. Owner Karen McGuire-Dole said her daughter Christine teaches with Kara Levitsky at the Friendship School and wanted to raise money for Brynn.

"If we could do anything to help the family, we would," McGuire-Dole said.

Because Brynn's favorite color is purple, Aunty Daisy's Donuts, the donut shop in the market, is selling old-fashioned donuts with chocolate frosting and purple sprinkles for the next two weeks. The market also is hosting a family fun night on Thursday, June 1, with music, games and make-your-own pizzas for the kids. Ten percent of the event's proceeds and all proceeds from each purple-sprinkle donut sold will be donated to the family.

For more information about fundraising efforts, visit the "Help Brynn Win" Facebook page or call Wenke at (860) 859-0267, ext. 3153.

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