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Bone Marrow Donor Registration at UW Thursday


October 8, 2012 — A marrow donor registration will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, in the Senate Chambers located on the second floor of the University of Wyoming Union.

Individuals who wish to join the pool of potential stem cell and bone marrow donors can do so at the event by joining the "Be the Match Registry." This registry exists for patients with diseases such as leukemia, who are in need of a bone marrow or stem cell transplant.

"You will not be donating marrow at the donor registration, but rather joining the registry of potential donors," says Melissa Dozier, a UW physiology senior from Laramie. "Joining the registry provides potential donors with the opportunity to save a life. If you are a match, you will be contacted by the ‘Be the Match Registry.'”

To be eligible to join, potential donors must be between the ages of 18-44 and generally in good health. Anyone 45-60 years of age must join online at www.bethematch.org  with a $100 tax-deductible payment, and cannot join at the drive. Donors who already are on the registry will remain there until the age of 61 and will not be removed until then.

A consent form and health questionnaire will be completed at the time of registration, followed by a cheek swab to collect cells for initial tissue typing. Students can join at no cost, while members of the Laramie community and UW employees also are encouraged to make a donation in addition to their registration.

Gwen Van Baalen and the Alpha Epsilon Delta student organization host the event with the Colorado Marrow Donor Program, which will conduct the registration.

"Each year, thousands of people are diagnosed with diseases, such as leukemia and lymphoma, for which a stem cell or marrow transplant could be the only cure," Bonfils Blood Center posts on its website. “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 ‘Be the Match Registry.' The chances of finding a match increase when donors are from the same ethnic background, important because the marrow donor registry works internationally.”

Jaryd Unangst, a 2011 donor, described the experience as one of the proudest moments in his life, saying, “The realization that an act as simple as joining the registry could eventually save another life was inspiring.”

Unangst encourages everyone to register because “there are few acts that allow one person the opportunity to definitively improve the quality of life and ameliorate the suffering of another human being.”

For more information, email Dozier at mdozier1@uwyo.edu or Unangst at junagst@uwyo.edu.

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