The Miami legal community is rallying to help GrayRobinson Miami partner Philippe Devé, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia and will likely need a bone marrow transplant.
The Miami office of GrayRobinson this week launched a national social media drive to find a donor for Devé. Already, hundreds of people from around the country have signed up to be tested, according to Marlene Quintana, a GrayRobinson partner in Miami.
On Tuesday, 80 people lined up outside the firm’s Miami offices to be tested, and other GrayRobinson offices throughout the state will be holding bone marrow drives this week.
Additionally, other law firms like Hinshaw Culbertson, Meland Russin & Budwick and Kozyak Tropin Throckmorton have held their own drives to help find a match for Devé.
“People are kind,” Quintana said. “People who don’t even know him or us signed up to be tested. I have been humbled and astonished by the kindness of strangers.”
City of Miami Sergeant Javier Ortiz, president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police, also decided to organize a drive for the Miami Police Department after reading about Devé.
A bone marrow transplant could be Devé’s only hope.
Devé, 51, came to GrayRobinson in 2011 from the former Adorno & Yoss. He had just gotten a clean bill of health after his annual physical a month ago, his partners said. Last weekend, he complained of intense neck pain and experienced night sweats. He went to the emergency room at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. The rare form of blood cancer can kill within weeks or months if left untreated.
Devé began a one-week course of chemotherapy, but a reaction sent him to the intensive care unit. If the chemotherapy fails, his only hope will be a blood marrow transplant. And the chances of finding a match are slim — 1 in 50,000, according to an email from GrayRobinson partners. Devé is an only child with parents who are in their 80s.
“The wider we cast the net, the better our chances of finding a match,” the email said. “Time is of the essence as the match must be found by the end of October. Our time is running out.”
Many of Devé’s partners launched an awareness campaign on Facebook and other social media sites to spread the word about their friend and partner. Additionally, partners sent an email to all employees of GrayRobinson statewide. The response was overwhelming, they said.
“It shows you the power of social media,” Quintana said.
GrayRobinson partners also are holding hospital vigils and prayer groups.
Byrd “Biff” Marshall Jr., president and managing director of GrayRobinson, said he was touched by the outpouring of support for one of his lawyers.
“There has been terrific participation in the process across the state helping a ‘member of our family,’ ” he said.
The Miami Police Department will hold a bone marrow testing drive at police headquarters from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 11 and 12.
Julie Kay can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (305) 347-6685.