BYUHSA urges students to become bone marrow donors

Written by: 
Jennifer Herrera~Multimedia Jounralist

Life-threatening cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma, are taking the lives of approximately 7.6 million people worldwide every year, according to researchers. BYUHSA attempted to bring awareness to students about the ways they can help save the lives of many by becoming bone marrow donors.

Be The Match® connects patients with a their donor match. Americans die everyday from not being able to find a bone marrow match because of the lack of matching participants. For more information, visit http://marrow.org/Home.aspx.

BYUHSA senior vice-president of Service and Learning, Alexis Wood, from Portland, Ore., and a junior in peace building, said, “This is something you can take action in right away even if it is just signing up. There are people dying everyday because they cannot find a match. By doing this and getting involved, you can be a lifesaver…People are not aware about this issue and that a lot of people are in need of donors…It’s so easy to make such a big impact.”

One of the biggest misconceptions about bone marrow donation is the fear of pain when donating. “The traditional way to get bone marrow is doing it through your hip, and people think that so painful because it’s a longer recovery time. But it’s just like a regular surgery,” said Wood. “You are put to sleep and that only happens 20 percent of time. Eighty percent of the time they give you pill to take to raise your levels of bone marrow and then they just take it out of you as if you where getting blood drawn… an in and out procedure,” she said.

“The turnout has been good so far. We had about 70 people sign up by being at the Aloha Center for a couple of hours. You sign up and at the table we do a cheek swab on all four corners of your mouth; and from that they can check your DNA, and from that determine if you are a match with someone. Then they will contact you about helping out a patient in need,” said Rosalie Mapa, junior vice-president of Service and Learning from Tonga and a junior in accounting. “If you still want to sign up, go to bethematch.org and order a swab kit. They send to you for free and then you send it back,” said Mapa.

Micheal Wilford Dennis III, a freshman from Alaska majoring in business, said, “I didn't even know you could donate marrow. I obviously am all for it though, if it saves lives …If it has no side effects and wouldn’t change my lifestyle in anyway, I would consider it.” Talking about the lack of donors, he said, “Maybe time and just overall knowledge of the procedure and making it something well known, like blood donating, because I know all my friends now most have donated blood. I don't think I could say the same about donating bone marrow.”