Story and photo by Darrell James/Photo and images editor/@darrelljames_
Students of the LBCC radio program hosted a bone-marrow drive to help find donors for marrow transplants on Wednesday, May 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the LAC in front of Building A.
The drive was led by Elizabeth Waite, 23, a communications major, who is also a supporter of cancer foundations Love Hope Strength and Delete Blood Cancer. According to information published in a brochure by Love Hope Strength, about 14,000 Americans are searching for a donor and only 30 percent of all patients are able to find compatibility in their family and six of 10 patients with blood cancer don’t find a match and will not receive a transplant.
Waite said, “Were encouraging the general public to get on the Delete Blood Cancer data base to be marrow matches. If a match happens you’ve just saved somebody’s life.”
Sometimes searching for compatibility in donors isn’t a simple task, organizers said, adding that many factors must be considered when looking for a person who shares compatibility, ethnicity being one. For transplants to be successful, both involved must have a strong match genetically and are usually related, Waite said.
“One thing that’s great about LBCC is that we have a diverse student population, that’s why were also here to help increase the representation on the donor list for African-Americans, Hispanics and other ethnicities who have these cancers and need marrow donations.”
Supporters who met the required guidelines relating to personal health were able to then fill out an informational form covering basic contact information and ancestry. Afterward, visitors were then asked to swab the inside of their mouth for cheek cells that would be then sent to the Delete Blood Cancer database as record for possible donors.
Media production major Chris Anderson, 43, said, “This is a great way to help save a life. It took me just a few minutes to fill out the form and about 40 seconds to do the swab.”
Multimedia production major Emilyanne Shreves, 22, said, “If I had a kid with leukemia or anything else I would freak out. I didn’t know that we had types of programs like this so I’m glad to be a part of it.”
By the end of the year, Waite hopes to have up to 100 new donors added to the bone-morrow donor list at the Delete Blood Cancer data base.