Family of Lexington man to continue his bone marrow donation mission

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The family of a Lexington man who died last week after battling leukemia plans to keep doing his work, urging people to learn more about bone marrow donations. They say it’s a simple way to make a huge difference for someone.

Michell Brown says his son, Jonah, had strong principles since he was a young boy.

“He was very adamant about not backing down when it comes to standing for what’s right. He refused to give in. He refused to compromise his character or compromise what was right,” Brown said.

Jonah Brown lived those principles until the end. He graduated from UK Law School and was heavily involved in the Lexington community. His battle with leukemia ended on August 3. As his cousin, Herman Lee Jr., visited him recently, he was struck by Brown’s compassion.

“He was so concerned. He was like, ‘Junior, look at all these people who are here who need help.’ He said, ‘It breaks my heart,’ I’m thinking, like, ‘You’re the one who, you’re fighting for your life right now,'” Lee said.

For the past several weeks, Brown had advocated for people to sign up to be bone marrow donors. Through the process, his family learned about the challenges.

“We didn’t have no idea until he needed a bone marrow match that, especially for Blacks, there’s only a 29% chance of finding a match because of the low number of Blacks that are on the list for Be The Match,” Brown said.

As they reflect on Brown’s legacy, they’re also going to carry on that work.

“In the world that we’re living in, with so much negativity that we see every day, we have an opportunity to actually be an answer to somebody’s prayer and save someone’s life,” Brown said. “If you can save a life just by being a match, I mean, you have achieved the ultimate.”

Brown’s family says it’s the kind of thing that would make him proud, knowing his legacy will continue for a long time to come.

“He’ll continue to inspire us, because he’ll never go away. He’ll never go away. He’s always going to be our inspiration in whatever we do,” Brown said.

You can learn more about the bone marrow registry at

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