The first ever Gustavus Bone Marrow Registration Drive will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 13 in Alumni Hall. When a volunteer arrives to register, they will first be asked to fill out a questionnaire that determines their eligibility to donate. Next, they move on to the actual sampling process.
Each person will be given four sanitary cotton swabs to simply collect cheek cells from four areas in their mouth. There are no needles or blood samples. These cheek samples are then packaged and sent to the National Bone Marrow Registry headquarters, located in Minneapolis, to be entered into the database. The whole process takes about twenty minutes at most and refreshments will be provided.
This is the first time Gustavus is putting on a bone marrow registration drive. Junior Elementary Education Major Kelly Okerman came up with the idea for the drive for her Public Discourse project because her cousin needed a bone marrow transplant.
“We are looking for as many people as possible,” Okerman said.
One of the goals Okerman is hoping to achieve with the drive was to get more people to register than Yale University had. Yale had 600 students register to be bone marrow donors, and since their event, have found six matches.
By giving a sample, you will be listed in the National Bone Marrow Registry until age 61. If a match is found for you, one can expect to be contacted by the registry to give a bone marrow transplant. According to the 2010 National Bone Marrow Registry records, only 1 in every 580 people (about 0.2 percent) actually gave a bone marrow transplant. For those who don’t feel comfortable giving a sample or are unable to, monetary donations are also needed. The Gustavus donation page can be found at: www.tinyurl.com/Gustavus Adolphus.
Bone marrow, as defined by Mayo Clinic, is “the spongy tissue found in the hollow interior of bones.” Put simply, the purpose of bone marrow is to provide new blood cells for the body. Bone marrow replenishes red blood cells and is the major site of production of white blood cells. In some people, an excessive number of these cells are defective and a bone marrow transplant is needed. The National Bone Marrow Registry website says that the majority of transplants are given to those suffering with leukemia, anemia, autoimmune diseases and other cancers.
The National Bone Marrow Registry relies on community donations to help save the lives of those with potentially fatal diseases. Consider stopping in Alumni Hall on Tuesday, Dec. 13 to join the bone marrow registry and have the chance to save a life.