Inn owner to host ‘drive-thru’ bone marrow registration

Jenny Smith, the new owner of the former Arietta Hotel, is seen outside working on renovations. She is hosting a “drive-thru” bone marrow registration event on Saturday. (The Leader-Herald/Richard Nilsen)

ARIETTA — A local inn owner is sponsoring a “drive through” bone marrow donor registration Saturday at 10 a.m.

Jenny Smith, new owner of the Balsam Inn at 140 Route 10, Caroga Lake — formerly known as the Arietta Hotel — is sponsoring a drive-thru bone marrow donor registration with special mention of health and fitness enthusiast, Riley Martin, 22, of Amsterdam. His family were formerly residents in Caroga Lake and Martin was a CrossFit trainer in Schenectady until his recent diagnosis with acute myeloid leukemia. A matching bone marrow donor is sought to aid in his battle against cancer.

Martin is the son of Donald (Hackett) Martin who grew up in Caroga Lake.

Smith is not new to the need for blood, bone marrow and organ donations. She said she signed up with Be The Match many years ago.

“I got hooked on Be The Match, while young — all it took for me was a short commercial, and a celebrity endorsement from someone I had idolized. I am an organ donor, I donate blood as frequently as I can, and I’ve been registered for bone marrow for as long as I’ve been allowed. It’s the least anyone should do.”

Smith said all it takes is to be inspired by someone.

“I watched a special with Angelina Jolie and immediately started adopting kids in Africa. The .50 a day program. It feels like walking past a can littered on a trail. Yea, you didn’t put it there, but you could easily pick it up and make the world a bit prettier. Someone that sees you pick up a can, will also pick them up, too. It’s that easy. Proof that influencers work, right?”

“I’ve been registered with Be The Match for 18 years [and] haven’t received one call yet to donate. I see that Riley’s family have all tried and do not have a match within his immediate family. It’s [has gotten] to the point where he is desperate. I’ve got the inn and ample parking not being put to use at the moment, so it felt like a perfect opportunity to help Riley out and help raise awareness.”

Besides the need for a local young person like Martin, Smith said she feels those in the Caroga Lake area are especially prone to help out others in need.

“I think that around our area, people do [care,] that is why I felt the drive-thru would do well. We shall see,” she said. “You always [hear] people saying that they ‘Wish they could help,’ when witnessing someone suffering through illness. This is one of those things that, you can help. People just don’t realize it, it seems.”

Smith would like to be notified of those who intend to be there by emailing her at Jenny@hashtagphotography.com and RSVP with a phone number and names of those attending.


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