At the end of May, Ross Medical Education Center’s Lansing campus welcomed Caitlin Regan from the Michigan Blood Be the Match. Michigan Blood is part of the National Bone Marrow Donor Program. The Be the Match registry recruits potential bone marrow donors for patients around the world. Patients in need of blood stem cell, also known as bone marrow usually turn to their families first to see if their cells are compatible with the patients’ cells. Unfortunately, a match within the family only happens about 30% of the time. The remaining 70% of matches are made between complete strangers via the Be the Match Registry.
Donating is simple, if you are between the ages of 18-44 you simply fill out some paperwork, swab the inside of your mouth with four large q-tips, seal them in the provided envelope, and you are done! It’s that simple. Once you have donated, you are added to the registry. After registering, you will stay on the registry until you are 61 years old, or request to be taken off the list. It usually takes about eights weeks to get signed up and get your name on the registry.
Once you are on, you just wait to see if you get the call that you are a match! If you are a match, Michigan blood will call you and talk you through the whole process. There are two ways the doctors can extract your bone marrow. First, they can get it right out of your blood. It is similar to donating blood, you just sit in the chair and relax. The second way is to do a procedure where they extract the bone marrow from your pelvic bone. Although it may sound scary, you are walked through the entire procedure by the doctors and nurses. You may experience a little discomfort for a couple days, but you can return to your daily activities the very next day.
Ross Medical Education Center is proud to be a part of this great cause; often a bone marrow transplant is a patient’s last, best chance for survival. The more people that join the registry means more chances for a match for thousands of patients with leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood diseases. Since Ross has paired up with Be the Match, they have had 800 join the registry and five of the Ross community have been matches so far!
Nicole, a Medical Insurance Billing and Office Administration student went through the whole process. She enjoyed sharing about the experience, “it was the best decision I have ever made. The thought that I can help save a life is overwhelming and emotional. What a great way to pay it forward. I hope that my decision will inspire others. Every life matters.” The Lansing campus is so proud of Nicole for doing such a selfless act of kindness. Ross is honored to be a part of joining Be the Match with many others in their community to make a difference.
To find out more about how you can join the Be the Match registry, visit their website at https://bethematch.org/.