This Wednesday from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm NCU is hosting a “Be The Match” bone marrow drive to raise awareness about the national bone marrow registry and get people involved in the program. This event, being held in the lobby of the Morse Event Center, is hosted by NCU junior Danielle Schmidt. Danielle is a teacher education major and is also on the basketball team. She is very passionate about the drive, and hopes they have a good turnout.
How the process will work is participants will fill out a form with their information, as well as any health issues. They will then get their cheeks swabbed with a Q-tip, and after that are free to leave. The cheek swab will later have a DNA analysis done, and the information added to the national bone marrow registry. There, people who have all types of blood cancers and leukemia and need a bone marrow transplant can look for a match.
When asked why the drive was so important to her Danielle told us the story of how she was diagnosed in high school with aplastic anemia, which is a very rare blood and bone marrow disease. She desperately needed a donor from the registry, where matches are based on race and ethnicity, and thankfully two matches were found. Danielle got the transplant she needed, and is now a healthy and active member of the NCU community. She states that, “The fact that I only had two matches was insane, and it just made me think of people with different ethnicities and how they have a much smaller chance of finding a match. I just want to get people registered since there are so many kids out there who don’t have matches, and it’s as simple as a cheek swab”.
Danielle hopes that people will come and be involved in the drive, and feel good about themselves when they leave. She did the Be The Match walk/run in Portland, and would love to get that event started down here in Eugene. Currently the NCU community is her focus, but she says she would be willing to help other schools and groups get involved with the Be The Match program.
For those who decide not to join the registry you can still donate to Danielle’s cause. It costs Be The Match around $100 for each participant who joins the registry, most due to the DNA analysis, and the organization relies heavily on donations. If you would like more information you can visit Be The Match’s website. We hope to see a good turnout for the drive, and we leave you with Danielle’s comment that “I just want people to know about it, enter the registry, and know they are a possible way to save someone’s life”.