On Thursday, October 16th, the students of Ross Medical Education Center in Canton, MI had the opportunity to learn more about Be The Match® and how they can volunteer to donate their stem cells or bone marrow. Katie McClain, a Stem Cell Recruitment Specialist from the Michigan Blood Stem Cell Programs in Grand Rapids, visited the Canton campus to speak about the organization and how the students could sign up to be on the registry. It was very easy for the students to join the registry. They only had to swab their inner cheeks for a tissue sample and complete a form. After the presentation, 17 students committed to joining the registry and potentially being the match for a life they can save. Katie also shared that those that weren’t able to join the registry still had the opportunity to save a life by donating financially to the organization, donating umbilical cord blood, and supporting and volunteering at Be The Match® events.
According to the Be the Match website, every four minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer, and each hour more than six people die from blood cancer. However, a cure exists for the thousands of patients diagnosed with blood cancers like leukemia or other blood diseases. For the past 25 years, Be The Match® (operated by the National Marrow Donor Program®) has been working everyday to save lives through transplant. Be The Match® has been managing the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world.
It all started when the 10-year old daughter, Laura, of Robert Graves, D.V.M. and his wife Sherry was diagnosed with leukemia. After they had tried everything to save Laura, her parents sought out alternative treatments and decided to use the very first bone marrow from an unrelated donor. When Laura received her bone marrow transplant in 1979, it worked! This achievement inspired the Graves family to give other families this opportunity. So, with the support of other patients’ families, doctors, congress, and financial support from the U.S. Navy, a national registry of volunteers, eager to donate bone marrow, was born.
“The cure for blood cancer is in the hands of ordinary people℠.” Visit Be the Match on Facebook to learn more about Be The Match®. Also, the website allows you to join the donor registry online or find local donor registry drives in your community.