Former firefighter-turned-actor Steve Buscemi is giving back to his native Brooklyn by helping to lead a bone marrow drive in support of a 2-year-old boy fighting a rare blood disorder.
Buscemi, 55, joined Owen's father Tim Hogan — a firefighter with Engine Company 216 — at the drive on Nov. 19 to encourage residents to get their cheeks swabbed to find a potential bone marrow match. Owen is battling severe aplastic anemia, a disease in which the bone marrow does not make enough blood cells for the body. In the United States, about 600 to 900 people are diagnosed each year, according to the Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation.
“He’s just an ingrown toenail or a small cold away from battling for his life,” Tim Hogan told CBS New York. “I know what we’re up against, and I know what he’s up against, and it scares us to death.”
Buscemi, who during the early '80s served on FDNY's Engine Co. 55 in Manhattan's Little Italy, has regularly returned to his roots to assist in times of need.
“The firefighting community is my family, so I just met [Tim] and he’s already a brother,” Buscemi said. “There is a cure but we just need to find the right match. But that’s not going to happen unless people come and donate.”
If you missed the drive, there's still an opportunity to have yourself tested to assist little Owen or thousands of others battling bone marrow diseases. Jump on over to BeTheMatch.org for a free (and simple — believe me, I've done it!) testing kit sent to your door.
Related on MNN: