Margaret alongside her family in Australia. From left to right: Chris (husband), Margaret, Alex (son), Jackson (son)
What moved Margaret Jurocko to become a superhero for Be The Match®? Perhaps it was fate, family—or both. After all, her sons Jackson and Alex were both born with XMEN disease, a rare genetic disorder of the immune system that can be very serious and debilitating. As a member of the Los Angeles Board of Ambassadors (BoA) for Be The Match, Margaret is a faithful advocate of the mission, helping support other caregivers and raise awareness of patient and research needs.
Senior year shock
Her connection to Be The Match began back in 2016. Margaret’s son Jackson was starting his first day of senior year of high school—but the day would ultimately end in shock, and a new diagnosis: lymphoma. They quickly decided that the best, and possibly only, cure for him would be to receive a bone marrow transplant.
Jackson now needed his own kind of superhero, a matching marrow donor—and luckily, he found one, thanks to Be The Match.
During senior year Jackson received his bone marrow transplant, and it was a success. He graduated college with a finance degree and is now healthy and enjoying life as he travels in Australia.
Inspired to give back
When Jackson was diagnosed with lymphoma, Margaret took advantage of the information and support Be The Match provided for caregivers, both on the website and through the Peer Connect program. Peer Connect allows families to speak and connect with others who have gone through the transplant journey.
She found Peer Connect so helpful that she eventually decided to volunteer for the program, offering her support for other moms and caregivers going through transplant with their loved one. She also volunteered to help with legislative advocacy.
Impact as an ambassador
Two years ago, Margaret joined the Los Angeles Board of Ambassadors for Be The Match. The National Be The Match Board of Ambassadors are an integral part of the organization’s fundraising efforts. Members serve as representatives of Be The Match within their own communities to identify, engage and build relationships with individuals and corporations in support of our life-saving mission.
During her time on the Board of Ambassadors, she has advanced our mission in numerous ways. She has helped plan and facilitate fundraising events such as the Be The Match Los Angeles Soirée, which raised over $202K last year for patients and families in need. She also helps to attract new members to the Board of Ambassadors, volunteers at donor recruitment drives and raises awareness of the mission and patients’ needs. Last year she even donated her sweat by raising funds and participating in the LA Half Marathon.
“The friends I’ve made through the Los Angeles Board of Ambassadors are important and strong because we all know what each other has been through. It’s nice to be surrounded by people who have had similar experiences,” Margaret said.
Margaret is particularly inspired to raise awareness of the need to fund more innovative research on cellular therapy. She knows that ethnically diverse patients don’t have as large of a pool of donors to choose from and we can increase their survival rate if we can implement research Be The Match is doing. (Patients are most likely to match a donor of their own ethnic background.) When asked what people should know about if they’re wanting to help Be The Match, Margaret said:
“Anyone can get involved! Get swabbed for the registry, help out at a donor recruitment drive, help with local fundraising if you are able. There’s something for everyone at Be The Match.”
We need your ideas, leadership and compassion! If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a board of ambassador member, contact Kristen Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org.