Anderson Parish Holds Successful Bone Marrow Drive

HNP Communications Around the Province

ANDERSON, S.C. — Nearly 60 people participated in last week’s bone marrow registration drive held by the Men’s Club of St. Mary of the Angels Parish here.

The Aug. 9 event was held to assist the National Marrow Donor Program (, according to Bill Brockelbank, president of the club.  The program matches marrow donors with needy cancer patients through a national database of potential donors.  The drive was named and given in honor of two St. Mary’s members, Butch Baptiste and Gary Derksen, who are both fighting advance-stage cancer — Derksen/Baptiste Bone Marrow Registration Drive.  Participants enjoyed food donated by Publix Supermarket.

This event is one of many since the 2006 rebirth of the Men’s Club in the parish, said Brockelbank, adding, “I am very proud of what the Men’s Club has accomplished in the last two years. We have promoted the club, the church, the community, and each other.”

“This Men’s Club has joined together and really bonded with some lasting friendships and a true brotherhood.  I believe this club has revitalized the men of St. Mary’s,” he added.  “This has not been my effort. This is a group effort. St. Mary’s Men’s Club is a team, a group of fanatics, if you will.”

The parish has grown rapidly in recent years; a new church opened last fall to accommodate the growing community.  It holds twice the number of people that the previous church did. The church has experienced a 60 percent growth in families since Oct. 4, 2007 when pastor Aubrey McNeil, OFM, celebrated the first Mass in the new sanctuary; it now serves approximately 360 familes from all walks of life, according to Marianne Chapin, a staff member.

MarrowDonor_8312_2The photo above shows, from left to right, Thaddeus Sapio, OFM; Bill Brockelbank, Aubrey McNeil, and Susan Cook of the National Marrow Donor Program.