GRANVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) — Jack Eppley is happy to be back at his home in Granville after undergoing his third stem cell transplant at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in late December.
Jack has battled a rare form of blood cancer since he was diagnosed at the age of 11. However, thanks to the “Be the Match” bone marrow registry, he now has a second chance at life.
“He’s living proof that you can do something to improve humanity if you want to,” said Craig Eppley, Jack’s father.
That’s a message the Eppley family wants to share to raise awareness for the need for bone marrow donors on the registry.
“I mean, how often do you get a chance to save somebody’s life to do CPR on somebody and bring them back from the street?” Craig Eppley said. “If you’re that match, you literally are that person that could give a child like Jack or an adult another 70 years of life.”
Mike Reilly from Boston, Massachusetts is Jack’s match and the bone marrow donor who saved his life.
“It started out mostly Be the Match sort of thing, medical related and it’s turned into pretty much just, we’re family members now, we talk on the phone once every week or so,” Jack Eppley said of his relationship with Reilly.
“We talked on the phone, and I remember Jack was really nervous to talk to him and by the end of the conversation, Jack was like, ‘This guy is awesome.’ I got to meet this guy, he is one in a million,” Craig Eppley said.
Reilly is one in 27 million people on the “Be the Match” bone marrow registry.
“We actually Facetimed Mike this time and he was able to see his cells be put in the IV and stuff and actually that life flow into Jack,” Craig Eppley said.
As a junior at Granville High School, Jack Eppley continues to grow stronger each day.
“He’s been exceeding all the milestones at this point,” Craig Eppley said.
“Coming home, it’s kind of just a big shock, finally returning to normal life,” Jack Eppley said.
Jack Eppley now hopes to inspire others to join Be the Match in his name.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people are just waiting for people to join the registry and hopefully get that match,” he said.
If you’d like to sign up to become a bone marrow donor: Text: Jack to 61474 or visit the Be The Match website.