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Bone Marrow Drive: Swab your cheek, save a life

Hundreds of thousands of people are diagnosed with blood cancer and other life-threatening blood related diseases each year. Many of these patients require a blood stem cell transplant, and in many cases that requires a matching blood stem cell donor. Presently, there are not enough potential donors, and only half of those who need a donor will find a suitable match. That is why your help is desperately needed.

The MSU Biology Department, Club Biology and Biology majors are teaming up with Delete Blood Cancer, an organization leading the fight to eradicate blood cancer, with a goal of adding at least 100 potential bone marrow or blood stem cell donors to the national registry as part of MSU's Centennial Service Challenge, Power of 100.

"Most everybody knows somebody who has had cancer, or somebody who has a blood cancer or a blood disorder that would require bone marrow donation - for example, Conrad Davidson (College of Arts and Sciences dean) is one. Had he not been able to donate his own stem cells back to himself, a donor would have been sought through a registry such as this," said Heidi Super, biology associate professor. "I would hope most people would want to save a life if given the option. This is a pretty painless way to save a life without giving your own." There is an urgent need for bone marrow donors, and the process is simple! All it takes to join the national bone marrow registry is a simple cheek swab to collect cells for tissue typing and a willingness to donate stem cells if you are a match to a person with a blood cancer or other blood disorder. That's right, a cheek swab to potentially save a life.

"I didn't have to have a donor because I was my own donor. I read so many stories on people who are trying to find a donor but they can't, and then, they are out of luck. Maybe people are frightened of it, but when I donated my own stem cells, it took me five days to get all the millions of cells I needed. Others may get the harvest done in two days," said Davidson. "Everybody's story is different. I met a man who had a donor transplant, and he looked so good, he had a positive attitude and this whole cancer thing is about mind, body and spirit. So what donors would be giving to others is an option to keep going."

Now is your chance to serve humanity, take part in the Power of 100 and most importantly, possibly save a life. Join the fun and get your cheek swabbed to register as a donor April 2nd, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Beaver Dam (Student Center, second floor).

For more information about the drive, contact Super at 701-858-3079, or heidi.super@minotstateu.edu. If you have questions about stem cell donation and getting registered, go to www.deletebloodcancer.org.