NC judge once given 3 months to live returns to bench

HILLSBOROUGH (AP) — A North Carolina judge diagnosed with cancer in the bone marrow received a standing ovation when he returned to the bench Monday after receiving a transplant that saved his life.

Superior Court Judge Carl Fox, 62, was diagnosed in April 2015 with myelodysplastic syndrome, a condition where stem cells in the bone marrow don’t mature or become healthy blood cells. He left the bench as he sought treatment for the disease that had caused him to lose weight and depleted him of energy.

“At this time last year, I couldn’t tell you if this day would ever happen,” WRAL-TV reported ( he said inside a courtroom filled with cheering attorneys, other judges and law enforcement officers. “They had given me three months to live, and I had started getting my affairs in order. And I tell you, I could never have dreamed it would work out so well.”

Fox and his girlfriend, Julia Kemp Smith, started the “Save the Fox” campaign to increase participation in bone marrow donation registries. Thousands of people responded, including an inmate Fox put behind bars when he was a prosecutor.

Fox received a bone marrow transplant using umbilical cord stem cells because he never found a perfect match.

“It’s really been a miracle, quite frankly, and I think there’s no one in the world who deserved a miracle more than Carl Fox,” Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said.

The registry did find matches for several other people. And Fox said his fight to raise awareness isn’t over — he and his supporters have organized a donor drive July 30 at University Place Mall in Chapel Hill.

“My message is, whatever way you can donate, donate,” Fox said.

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