The National Cancer Institute reported that approximately 39.6 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetime.
Although there is currently no definitive cure for the disease, there are several ways in which the lives of patients with certain types of cancer can be saved.
On Wednesday, April 12, Be The Match National Marrow Donor Program visited the Keene State College (KSC) Young Student Center.
Be The Match is an organization that sets up drives allowing volunteers to register into a national database as potential matches for patients with blood cancers such as Leukemia, Sickle cell anemia and other diseases.
Each year, leukemia kills more children than any other cancer and 70 percent of patients in need of a marrow transplant do not have a matching donor in their family, according to DoSomething.org.
Through Be The Match’s registry, individuals ages 18-24 give cheek samples that are put in their database. If someone in the registry is found to be a match, they have the option of donating.
Matches can either donate by Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) donation or by marrow donation.
During PBSC, donors receive a drug prior to donation that increases the number of cells in their bloodstream. Five days later, the cells are collected during the blood donation.
Marrow donors undergo a surgical outpatient procedure under anesthesia, where doctors collect marrow from the back of the pelvic bone.
According to BetheMatch.org, about one in 430 in the United States’ Be The Match Registry go on to donate bone marrow, one in 40 registry members will be called for additional testing and one in 300 will be selected as the best possible donor for a patient.
Love Your Melon (LYM), the apparel brand that donates to pediatric cancer, brought this event to KSC as one of the several nonprofit organizations they support who help fight the battle against pediatric cancer.
KSC senior Courtney Dusablon helped host the event with Love Your Melon.
“My hope would be that someone that signed up today will get a call at some point in their life to be a match for someone, give their bone marrow and have a success story,” Dusablon said.
KSC junior Chloe Giarraputo is a member of Love Your Melon and said she can relate closely with the cause from her own personal experience.
“A family friend of mine passed away from cancer when he was 12 and when I heard about Love Your Melon, I thought it would be a good thing to become involved in,” Giarraputo said.
As one of the individuals who gave a cheek swab, she said it would be a great opportunity to be someone’s match and she would help out in any way she can if she found one.
KSC senior Olivia Teixeira is the captain of Love Your Melon, but initially didn’t know much about it. After seeing LYM hats and hearing about it through word of mouth, she decided to join.
“I joined for my mom who was battling cancer and I love the organization. They have about 15 nonprofits, Be That Match is one of them, who all just want to help in any way that they can,” Teixeira said. After swabbing, Teixeira said she hopes she receives a call back.
“It really would be awesome and if you are a match, you could literally save a life,” Teixera added.
KSC senior Emily Clarke said after hearing about Be the Match from a roommate and realizing the influence she could have on another’s life if she joined the registry, donating was a no-brainer for her. Clarke said knowing she could be a match for someone who needs it is incredible.
Recruiter for Be the Match Jackie Mcloon said she goes with Be the Match to venues wherever they are invited to potentially sign people up.
Mcloon added that she was lucky enough to be a match with a nine-year-old boy 17 years ago, describing it as the most rewarding thing she has ever gotten to do. The boy she was fortunate enough to donate to is 26 now and a part of her family.
“I am passionate about telling people that being a donor is not as bad as they say either way that you do it, blood or bone, it replenishes both ways,” Mcloon said.
“Quantity is great, but it’s also about the quality of the people signing up; you’re not obligated to say yes if you sign up, but it seems today everyone who did sign up really wants to get that call and that’s really awesome,” Mcloon said.
This event at KSC logged 44 new people into the bone marrow registry’s database.
Be the Match also offers people to register anytime online at BeTheMatch.org.
Alexandra Enayat can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org