Munroe finds magic in more than smoke and mirrors

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Staff report

At 29 years old, Jim Munroe, magician and speaker, heard the words, “Mr. Munroe, you have leukemia” after taking a trip to the emergency room for intense leg pain. After a series of tests Munroe describes as a “complete whirlwind,” he was told he had two months to live if nothing was done about his condition. He said he was diagnosed with Ph-Positive ALL – a rare form of the cancer that will continue to return after remission without a bone marrow transplant.

According to Be The Match, a nonprofit operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, a bone marrow transplant takes a donor’s healthy blood-forming cells and transfers them into the patient’s bloodstream.

Munroe will be at Murray State Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. in Lovett Auditorium doing a mystery illusion show titled, The Maze, and is open to the Murray community to attend. Attendees will be able to sign up to become a bone marrow donor that night through the Be The Match organization.

“My own biological sister wasn’t a close enough match,” Munroe said.

A brother or sister of a patient needing a transplant has about a 25 percent chance of being a match, according to Be The Match. Munroe was matched with a donor, a 19-year-old female, who had registered to be a donor through Be The Match.

“Out of a 7-million people in an international database, there was only one person capable of saving me from my disease,” Munroe said. “It just takes one.”

Typically becoming a donor costs about $100, but those who attend the event will be able to sign up for free. About 1 in 430 U.S. Be The Match Registry members will go on to donate bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC) to a patient, according to Be The Match.

“They are the organization that saved my life, so it just seems fitting,” Munroe said.

Munroe said he is completely cancer free today.

The Maze has been to 48 of the United States and internationally in Australia, Canada and Europe, often doing the show on college campuses because they meet the age demographic for potential donors. Munroe said he started with a Fisher-Price magic set when he was 6 years old and has been doing magic and illusions ever since.

“I was always drawn to magic as a kid, just kind of my make up,” Munroe said.