UW-Stout News Story

Get Swabbed: Students organize bone marrow registry event

October 22, 2012

A UW-Stout fraternity, with the help of the Blue Devils football team, is encouraging students and local residents to spend 15 to 20 minutes of their time to potentially save a life.

Alpha Phi, an international women’s fraternity, is sponsoring Get Swabbed, a bone marrow registry event, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, in Ballroom C of the Memorial Student Center. It is free and open to the campus and public.

In 15 to 20 minutes, including filling out a form and simple mouth swabs, attendees can become registered as potential donors through DKMS, the world’s largest bone marrow center with more than three million people registered and 30,000 donors.

Alpha Phi“We want to build up the registry,” said Abbey Schneider, an Alpha Phi member who is coordinating the event with DKMS. “If people realize they could be saving someone’s life, maybe it will change their outlook.”

A bone marrow transplant often is a last resort for patients with a type of blood cancer, such as leukemia. Blood cancers are the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. Bone marrow matches with relatives are successful only 30 percent of the time.

“Finding a bone marrow match is like finding an identical twin. That’s why we need so many people to be part of the registry,” said Schneider, a sophomore majoring in hotel, restaurant and tourism management.

Alpha Phi, which has 52 members, has organized the event. Football players are volunteering the day of the event, said Schneider, who hopes at least 250 people will be registered Wednesday.

Schneider is helping in honor of her Monroe High School soccer coach, Miriam O’Neill, who has a rare blood cancer and may need a bone marrow transplant in the future.

To be eligible for the registry, people must be between the ages of 18 and 55, be in good health and weigh at least 110 pounds.

Information about registering and becoming a donor will be available. “Even if you don’t get swabbed, we can at least inform you about it. People don’t know enough about it,” Schneider said.

For more information contact Schneider or go to DKMS.

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