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BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — There are more than 39 million donors registered on the ‘Be the Match’ transplant list. Bowling Green State University is looking to add to those numbers.
On Monday, the university is hosting a registration drive where you could potentially be a life-saving marrow or blood stem cell donor. All it is, is a quick cheek swab, then you could potentially save someone’s life in the future.
If you become a donor, you are helping people who live with rare illnesses get bone marrow and stem cell transplants. Since the late 80s, ‘Be The Match’ has orchestrated more than 111,000 transplants.
There are two ways the transplants are completed. The first is through a non-surgical procedure of collecting blood cells, which is similar to donating blood platelets.
The second is through surgery when doctors use needles to withdraw liquid marrow from both sides of the back of your pelvic bone. These procedures would only happen if you are a match with a patient.
The chief health officer at BGSU, Ben Batey, emphasized today is just getting you registered to become a potential donor one day.
“So if we can take healthy stem cells or healthy bone marrow from a donor and transplant that in at a quantity that’s enough, that can basically restart their system and either clear out some of the ill cells so that it extends their life or potentially can be a cure as well for individuals if we can find the right match.”
Batey said it was really an easy decision to host this drive. He explained it aligns with their mission of community care and with the age requirement being between 18 to 40, the campus is an easy way to reach out to that age demographic.
University officials want the drive to educate people about the life-saving results for patients diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening diseases.
They also want to help people understand exactly what it takes to donate bone marrow and blood stem cells. Of course if you do becomes a match, doctors will be in contact with you and will walk you through the more in-depth process.
But again, Monday is just about getting you registered to become a donor. People could spend forever on the donor list and never match with a patient. Batey said while that is true, there’s potentially a greater need for donors than there are patients.
“Not everybody — about 70% of individuals don’t have a match within their own family and so you can imagine they’re waiting on somebody to step up and be their hero to actually join the registry and that may be the only match for them that their doctor can find,” explained Batey.
This is the first ‘Be the Match’ registry drive hosted by BGSU. Staff is hoping the turn out is great enough to bring it back again!
This event will be from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Oct. 31.
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