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This match is one he cannot afford to lose

In the heat of the day, he would move heavy appliances in and out of homes. He would carry them up flights of steps in the rain and the cold.

But earlier this year, Joseph Grimsley's muscles began to ache.

"The pain would move from my legs to my arms and from one area of my body to the next," Grimsley, 35, said Tuesday. "I was going to doctors for three months. Some days, I could hardly walk."

On Aug. 29, the husband and father of three, who worked six days a week at APSCO Appliance Center and who worked out five days a week, was told he had acute myelogenous leukemia, a fast-growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow.

Two days later, he was at Tampa's H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center for nine days of heavy chemo.

"It was the last thing I figured," Grimsley said sitting in his living room. "I'm trying to figure out what I've done so wrong, but I figure everything happens for a reason and some good is going to come out of it."

The way his mother, Ethel Grimsley, sees it, one positive is a greater awareness in minority communities of the need to become a bone marrow donor.

Told that he needed a bone marrow transplant, Joseph Grimsley looked to his brother, Larry, 36.

They weren't a match.

He then checked the national marrow registry maintained by the National Marrow Donor Program.

No match.

So Ethel Grimsley organized a bone marrow and blood donor drive scheduled at Bayview Baptist Church in Clearwater. A Florida Blood Services representative will to explain the importance of becoming a donor and to encourage more minorities to register.

"I have a strong belief in God and he will perform a miracle himself or find him a donor," Ethel Grimsley said. "And if we don't find a donor for him, we will help someone else in the meantime. We win both ways."


Want to help?

What: Bone marrow and blood donor drive for Joseph Grimsley.

When: 7:30 p.m. today

Where: Bayview Baptist Church, 201 Meadow Lark Lane, Clearwater.

More information: (727) 791-9982 or (727) 530-1566.