Yuma Proving Ground Assistant Fire Chief Daniel Manning has spent a lifetime helping others now he needs help finding a bone marrow donor. He’s been diagnosed with Myelofibrosis, a rare blood disease.
Yuma Proving Ground Assistant Fire Chief Daniel Manning has spent a lifetime helping others now he needs help finding a bone marrow donor. He’s been diagnosed with Myelofibrosis, a rare blood disease. (Photo Credit: Ana Henderson) VIEW ORIGINAL

Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) Assistant Fire Chief Daniel Manning has spent a lifetime helping others. He served in the Air Force, then continued to serve as a firefighter for the Department of Defense around the U.S. for the last 25 years.

He joined the YPG Fire Department in late 2020. Just before that, in September 2020 Manning received a bloodwork panel because he was preparing to have back surgery in December. During that routine bloodwork is when his doctor became concerned and in the following months found Manning had a rare blood disease. Manning went to five hematologists to confirm the diagnosis. The fourth doctor told him, “You have a very rare cancer and you are in the high risk category.”

Manning has Myelofibrosis, a type of blood cancer in which the bone marrow is replaced by fibrous scar tissue. It is considered a form of chronic leukemia.

Accepting what’s happening to him and making it public has been a difficult step.

“I didn’t want to deal with telling everybody I have a problem. I don’t want people to treat me differently.”

Manning is used to being the savior, not the one in need.

“It was shocking: 25 years of taking care of the public and now needing help. I was in denial.”

His fifth doctor urged him to start infusion therapy chemotherapy. Each month he undergoes five consecutive days of three-hour long treatments. He’s now undergone a few rounds, and even doing that was difficult for Manning.

“I didn’t really want to do chemo because I have responded to individuals who are on chemo.”

Manning is now coming to terms with his illness. Even after being given 12 to 36 months to live he didn’t want to ask for help for what doctors say is the next step…finding a bone marrow match. However, his wife and five children, three of which still live at home, motivated him to actively seek a match. The family already hosted a donor drive in Phoenix where his extended family lives.

Manning’s ancestry, Italian and Irish, has made finding a match difficult. The Be My Match registry currently has zero matches. At first search they found a 100% match, but it turned out it was Manning’s profile for when he was 18 and signed up to become a match.

“We got a little chuckle out of it, but it just goes to show how rare my genotype is.”

Even if Manning doesn’t find a match for himself, he urges people to sign up through bethematch.org because they may save someone else’s life. The Be the Match organization will send those interested an at home swab kit.

Later this week he’ll receive a bone biopsy so his doctor can analyze how his body is reaction to the chemotherapy and give him a better idea how his body is reacting. His original prognosis was given prior to starting treatment. Until then, Manning will continue working as long as he can.