by Elizabeth Welz
Benedictine’s Red Cross, in collaboration with the Be the Match foundation, hosted a bone marrow donor event on September 23 and 24. Each day, between the times of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., the American Red Ross Chapter of Benedictine recruited students, faculty and staff between the ages of 18 to 44 to donate bone marrow to people in need.
“The bone marrow event was important because there are many people who need bone marrow transplants but have yet to find a compatible donor,” said junior Juana Alvarado. “Having more people donate bone marrow could help save lives of many.”
The two day tabling event was set up in order to find individuals who were interested in joining the bone marrow registry.
“Over the course of the two day tabling event, we had approximately 42 new donors added to the bone marrow donation registry through Be the Match,” said sophomore Joe Ranvestal, Public Relations Officer of
American Red Cross Chapter of Benedictine. “These donors will not need to renew their donor status so long as they remain eligible, and can have a lifesaving impact with ease.”
The volunteers interested in signing up for the bone marrow registry filled out their basic information, along with, a cheek swap sample. After the registration, the donors are then put on the registry where they wait till they are found to be a match. Once the donors are a match, they are contacted, informed they are a match and are asked to donate.
“The bone marrow event was a way for our students to sign up and donate bone marrow to those who need it. This event was purely voluntary, and I’d say it was successful,” said sophomore Aditya Kapoor.
According to the Be the Match foundation website, every four minutes someone is diagnosed with blood cancer like leukemia. For many of those people, the only chance for a cure is by a bone marrow transplant. However, 70% of those in need of a donor will not have a match in their family.
“For a wide variety of diseases, bone marrow transplants are the only resource we have as a cure. While the process is pretty simple to perform, there are few people on the registry who are found to actually be matches for those in need,” said Ranvestal. “The more people we have on the registry, the more likely someone with a lethal disease can be cured.”