SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) --Keith Meter, a 44-year-old runner, paddle boarder and avid outdoorsman, has been helping others for nearly 20 years as a California Highway Patrol officer in Orange County. Now, he's on the receiving end in need of help from others.
"I can't believe the amount of support my dad has received going through this," said Meter's 20-year-old daughter Kylee. "It wasn't anything imaginable, so I'm really grateful for that."
Meter was diagnosed last December with an aggressive form of bone marrow cancer.
The first sign something was wrong was when he tried to donate his own bone marrow to help an 8-year-old girl. He was told they were a match, but his blood levels were too low to meet donor requirements. He dismissed advice to go see a doctor since he was so active.
But after suffering a mountain biking crash last year, Meter suffered shortness of breath, dizziness and fainting spells.
He sought further treatment and was diagnosed with MDS or Myelodysplastic Syndrome.
The father of two is now in need of a bone marrow transplant.
In front of the CHP office in Santa Ana, a steady stream of people stopped by booths to join a marrow donor registry. His CHP colleagues have organized similar drives across the state; more than 1,000 people have joined the registry in just one week. Meter's co-workers hope one of them is a match for Meter.
"He's just a wonderful guy," said CHP Lt. Scott Moorhouse. "A guy that saves peoples lives, and we want to save his life."
To be part of the marrow donor program, patients should be between the ages of 18 and 44. A cheek swab is taken to determine tissue type. That's then entered into the Be the Match Registry.
"He (Meter) would like to come and thank people and shake their hands," said Meter's father Ken. "But it's too scary for him to get a cold or the flu. His immune system is too low."
"He's not exactly himself anymore. It's definitely starting to affect him," said Kylee. "He used to be surfing everyday, and now it's a little harder to just go for a walk, but he's doing his best to stay active and his spirits are high."
The simple test is giving hope not just to Meter but to others in need of a life-saving match.
"You're saving someone's life by signing up to do this."