It was his conquest over cancer the first time around and a changed perspective that led longtime mechanic Jake Konen to a new career teaching at Cuyamaca College.
|From left, Jake Konen's son Josh; daughter-in-law Veronica Gehrich;|
Be the Match representative Janet Higgens and Cuyamaca College
President Mark Zacovic
Four years after he beat non-Hodgkins lymphoma, cancer has returned to wage another war, this time in the form of acute leukemia. And Konen is determined to once again prevail.
On Thursday, while he was at the hospital with Tina, his wife of 22 years, his sons and other family members were at Cuyamaca, taking part in a donor registry drive the college sponsored on his behalf. The six-hour event netted 34 people who swabbed their cheeks for cell samples and signed up for a national registry -- a commitment until age 61 to donate stem cells or bone marrow to any patient with whom they’re found to be a match.
“It was a great drive – it only takes one match to potentially save a life,” said Janet Higgens, community outreach specialist with Be the Match, the largest registry of potential marrow donors in the world.