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Marrow Donor Drive Feb. 19 at UW

February 16, 2009
Man being swabbed by woman
Presidential Swab -- University of Wyoming President Tom Buchanan has his cheek swabbed by Dr. Joanne E. Steane, Student Health Service director, for the National Marrow Donor Program Registry. A marrow donor drive is scheduled Thursday, Feb. 19, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in the ASUW Senate Chambers, second floor of the Wyoming Union. (UW Photo)

A marrow donor drive is scheduled Thursday, Feb. 19, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in the University of Wyoming Senate Chambers, second floor of the Wyoming Union.

"You will not be donating marrow at the donor drive because marrow is only donated to a specific patient if you are matched with them," says Gwen Van Baalen, a UW music junior from Laramie. "This drive will give you the opportunity to join the registry for a patient who is searching for an unrelated donor."

The event is for potential donors to be placed in the National Morrow Donor Program Registry and is in honor of former UW student, Justin Van Baalen, brother of Gwen.

"Joining the registry provides potential donors with a good opportunity to save a life," Gwen Van Baalen says. "If you are a match, you will be contacted by the National Morrow Donor Program Registry."

To be included on the registry, potential donors must be between the ages of 18-60 and in general good health. A consent form and health questionnaire will need to be completed at the time of registration, followed by a cheek swab to collect cells for initial tissue typing.

Cost is $30 for the procedure. With the support of several campus entities and the UW Foundation Board, these costs will be covered for the first 100 students and the first 100 faculty and staff members who participate. Members of the Laramie community are also welcome to participate. Van Baalen and the Colleges Against Cancer student organization are organizing the event with Bonfils Blood Center of Colorado Springs, Colo., which is conducting the drive.

Due to limited parking, bus transportation is recommended. Buses run every 4-6 minutes from the Union Express Lot, on Willett Drive and 30th Street, and from the South Express Lot, on 15th and Spring Creek. Both parking lots and bus services are free to the public.

"Each year, thousands of people are diagnosed with diseases like leukemia and lymphoma for which a stem cell or marrow transplant could be the only cure," Bonfils posts on its Web site. "About 70 percent of these people are unable to find a donor match within their family and must search for an unrelated donor on the National Marrow Donor Registry. They have a greater chance of finding a match in a donor from the same ethnic background. As a marrow donor, you could be the one to provide a unique match and hope for patients in need and their families."

For more information, e-mail Van Baalen at

Posted on Monday, February 16, 2009

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