A peculiar donation

UI+freshman+Mina+Rao+swabs+her+month+at+the+bone+marrow+table+during+the+5th+hour+of+the+23+Dance+Marathon+at+the+Iowa+Memorial+Union+on+Friday%2C+Feb.+3%2C+2017.+%28The+Daily+Iowan%2FMargaret+Kispert%29

Kispert

UI freshman Mina Rao swabs her month at the bone marrow table during the 5th hour of the 23 Dance Marathon at the Iowa Memorial Union on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. (The Daily Iowan/Margaret Kispert)

A bone marrow donation can make all the difference in the fight against cancer for many patients.

Be The Match, a student organization on campus, is putting on a bone marrow donor drive at Dance Marathon 23 in hopes of attracting new donors to the program.

“Be The Match is a program that advocates for bone marrow transplants and stem cell transplants. We host drives to potentially sign people up to donate and be on the national bone marrow donor registry,” said Megan Pospisil, a volunteer with Be The Match .

The student organization aims to educate students on marrow and blood stem cell donation and give them the opportunity to join the Be The Match Registry through the University of Iowa Marrow Donor Program, which is located at UI Hospitals and Clinics.

“We love having a drive at Dance Marathon because through Be The Match you can be someone’s cure to cancer,” Pospisil said. “Even though it’s really important to donate money, having the potential to be someone’s cure is just as amazing.”

Dancer Alexandria Feldmeier echoed Pospisil’s statement about having the potential to save someone’s life as a donor.

“They said that only one in 500 people [who register to donate] get chosen and just one of those lucky people could save someone’s life,” Feldmeier said. “It’s not often that you find someone whose an exact match so the fact that I could be that match to that one person to save someone’s life is really meaningful.”

The process for becoming a donor is relatively simple.

“If you decide to register, the first thing you do is fill out a commitment survey because a lot of time people sign up not knowing what it all entails and then if they are called to donate they don’t accept or they turn it down,” Pospisil said.

“If the results of the commitment survey look good, you fill out a packet with your contact information and some details about your medical history. Then lastly you use four cotton swabs to swab each corner of your mouth for cheek cells and all that information is then sealed up and sent to the hospital,” she said.

Dance Marathon 23 participants responded well to the bone marrow donor drive.

“This is our best crowd of the year usually [when it comes to donating]. Mainly just because they want to see a cure for cancer and because they care about things like this. The response is always really well received here,” Pospisil said.

Dancer Madison Scott was motivated to become a donor for more personal reasons.

“I’ve known people that have needed bone marrow transplants and so [being a donor] is very near and dear to me. If I can help someone else in that same situation, then that’s great,” Scott said. “It would be amazing to be able to save someone’s life just by giving them my bone marrow. If I’m healthy why not help somebody who’s not?”

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