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One Small Deed Can Lead to One Giant Life Saving Act
Cassi Imrie - College Student and
Gift of Life Campus Ambassador
Residents of St. Johns County, Florida take enormous pride in its wonderful schools and neighborhoods, and it's great to see the children of this community go forth in the world to make a difference.  Consider the case of Cassi Imrie, who attended Cunningham Creek Elementary, Hickory Creek Elementary, Swiss Point Middle School, Fruit Cove Middle School, and Bartram Trail High School where she graduated in 2013.  She was Captain of the BTHS Cheer Team and a top five finalist in the Miss Bartram Pageant.  
Cassi was "living the dream" as an incoming freshman at the University of Florida, navigating her classes, meeting new friends, and pledging Alpha Delta Pi sorority.  Everything was going her way until October 22, 2013 - the day her mom, Leya Parker, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.  Daily visits with her mom at Shands Cancer Hospital at UF Health became part of her routine.  Five months of chemotherapy and one full body radiation took Leya to the edge of death many times, and Cassi was there for all of it.
In February of 2014, Leya received a bone marrow transplant from a complete stranger who happened to get tested at a Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation donor drive 18 months prior.  One small deed - a simple swab of the cheek - by an anonymous donor led to a perfect DNA match, and this one giant act of donating stem cells saved Leya's life.  Leya got to meet her donor, Johnathan Struhl, in person this past June in Manhattan at a fundraiser.  As you can imagine, the families have become close friends with a bond that will last a lifetime.
While Leya's four girls and husband all play a big role in her recovery, Cassi, will be working on University of Florida's campus as an Ambassador for Gift of Life.  Her goal is to add 1,000 new donors to the registry and fundraise to help offset the costs associated with testing. 

To date, Gift of Life has facilitated over 2,900 transplants and serves a vital function by matching anonymous donors with patients.  One in 200 Americans will require a stem cell or bone marrow transplant in their lifetime.  Gift of Life envisions a day where a match can be found  anytime, anywhere, for anyone.    
"I completed the application to serve as a Campus Ambassador," Cassi explains, "in part, to honor to spirit and kindness of my mother and her wonderful donor.  Gift of Life gave my family so much hope and such a special bond that I will strive to give back to this program and other people what they have given us."
Cassi is tasked with increasing awareness of the DNA Registry among UF students through promotion and donor drives.  To help Cassi and Gift of Life create more life-saving memories, visit to find out how to become part of the registry and otherwise contribute your time and resources to wonderful cause.  
Follow Cassi Imrie's lead, and do your share of good deeds in our community and beyond.  Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good. 

This article originally appeared in the September 2015 issue of The Creekline Newspaper. Reprinted with the permission of The Creekline Newspaper.

Mission of the Good Deed
 and How You Can Help
Mission of the Good Deed Brigade
The mission of the Good Deed Brigade is to promote the actions and kindness of people making a difference in the community.
How You Can Help
It can be as simple as a random act of kindness or as incredible as a lifetime of service to others.  For those of you already doing some good out there by small acts of kindness as well as bigger ones, the Good Deed Brigade salutes you. Visit our Website at and go to our Facebook Page at

Good Deed Brigade - Making a Difference
Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, 
it's all good.

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