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Six-year-old boy meets his lifesaving donor at annual celebrity golf tournament

Mar 14, 2024 by Gift of Life News

Gift of Life’s fourth annual Celebrity Golf Tournament was held on Monday, February 26, 2024, at the beautiful Breakers West Country Club in West Palm Beach, Fla. The event chair was Mindy Schneider, a member of Gift of Life’s Board of Directors.

(L-R) Event Chair and Board Member Mindy Schneider, Chairman of the Board Stephen B. Siegel, Founder and CEO Jay Feinberg, longtime supporters Susan and Ed Blumenfeld. 

(L-R) Event Chair and Board Member Mindy Schneider, Chairman of the Board Stephen B. Siegel, Founder and CEO Jay Feinberg, longtime supporters Susan and Ed Blumenfeld. 

Other celebrities in attendance included NFL Alumni Woody Bennett, John Bronson, Kijana Carter, Troy Drayton, Kerry Glenn, Sean Hill, Sam Madison, O.J. McDuffie, James McKnight, Nat Moore, Vinny Sutherland, JT Thomas and Jed Weaver.  

Luncheon was served before the round, and other activities featured a silent auction, a chance drawing, and in-game contests included closest-to-the-pin, longest drive, and hole-in-one.

The highlight of this fundraising event was the emotional introduction of a heroic marrow donor to his young recipient.

Jesse and Jessica Jennings, the recipient's parents, were extremely excited and emotional as they prepared to meet the donor who had saved their 6-year-old son, Levi. They had not previously met, as donors and recipients must remain anonymous for the first year under federal regulations.

Gift of Life board member and tournament co-chair Mindy Schneider welcomed them to the podium and shared that Levi was diagnosed at only six weeks old with Diamond Blackfan Anemia, a very rare bone marrow disorder that affects the ability to produce enough red blood cells. His only hope for a cure was to have a marrow transplant. 

Mindy then invited Levi’s donor, Garrett March, to come forward and meet him and the family. Garrett gave Levi a big handshake, and then greeted his parents, who could not thank him enough. 

“This is a humbling experience,” said Garrett. “I was overrun with emotions. I first joined the registry hoping to help a fraternity brother who needed a transplant, and although he didn’t survive, that loss set in stone my commitment to donate when I was called as Levi’s match.”

“Levi was very sick prior to his marrow transplant, his blood counts were unusually low right when he was born,” said his mother, Jessica. “This was a last effort at survival for him, but we were surprised how quickly his match was found.”

Levi is enjoying being a “normal kid” now, attending school, playing with friends, and enjoying sports. The Jennings can also visit family and friends, which was not possible before his recovery. 

Levi Jennings, 6, is majoring in kindergarten and playing with his siblings Leah and Lonnie. He plays T-ball, soccer, Mario Bros. and Spiderman video games, and he loves Legos.

Garrett March, 28, is from West Richland, Wash., where he works at a physical therapy practice. He earned an AA degree from Walla Walla Community College, a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Washington State University (WSU) and a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Messiah University in Mechanicsburg, Penn. He is a brother of the Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity and played college baseball at WSU. He enjoys golf, working out, sports and hanging out with his friends.


Photo Gallery

You can view all the photos from the event by clicking here


More about Diamond Blackfan Anemia

Only one in 6 million babies are affected with Diamond Blackfan Anemia (DBA). About 45% inherit the condition, while 55% of cases are the result of spontaneous mutations. Some individuals experiencing DBA are severely affected while others experience few or no problems. Although approximately 25% of those with DBA die by age 50 from related medical conditions, such as acute myeloid leukemia or other cancers, long-term survival for those who receive a stem cell or marrow transplant is 90%.