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39 Swabs for a Lifesaving Cause

Published on December 18, 2013 by Tiffany Coleman

(MERIDIAN) At this very minute, 12,000 people are searching for a bone marrow donor. To help increase their chances of finding a lifesaving match, Broadview University recently opened its doors to host a bone marrow match drive called “Be The Match.” The campus became the State of Idaho’s only publicly-known location to host a national donor registry drive. By the end of the two-day event, 39 people registered for the opportunity to become a lifesaving match.

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Nicole Pineda (right), a reporter from KIVI-TV who came to do a story on BVU’s “Be the Match” event, was one of 39 people who joined the bone marrow registry that day.

Be The Match is a nonprofit movement that engages a growing community of people inspired to help patients who need a marrow or stem cell transplant. When people join the national registry, they become part of every patient’s search for a donor. The process starts with a questionnaire and a simple cheek swab.

Students from the Boise campus’s health sciences group volunteered to help with the drive—using the hands-on skills they are learning in school. They greeted people at the welcome table, shared information with prospective donors and ran the swabbing station while volunteers from the organization were on hand to help out as needed. One of the organization’s local volunteers had a personal reason for helping out.

“My dad had leukemia,” Tobey Jinkins, a Be The Match volunteer from Boise, said. “He received a marrow transplant from a woman in Illinois. She helped give us an additional three years with him. That extra time was priceless. Now I volunteer with hopes that I can do that for another family.”

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Jessica, a student in the business program at Broadview University, joins the effort to swab for a cause.

Potential donors who participated in the event gave a variety of reasons for wanting to join the registry. Many knew someone affected by life-threatening diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma and other blood cancers. A reporter from KIVI-TV who came to do a story about the event even joined the effort.

“I have four children,” Nicole Pineda said. “If anything ever happened to any one of them, I would be devastated. Thanks to your encouragement, I am joining the registry in hopes that I may be able to help someone’s child someday.”

Joining the registry only takes a few minutes. It takes four to six weeks for the results to become listed in the national database. A person stays listed on the registry until they turn 61. If a match is identified, donors are contacted with further information.

“Thank you for being an important partner in our mission to save lives through marrow transplantation,” Magda Silva, a Be The Match representative from Portland, said. “Each event requires volunteers who plan it, promote it, join the registry or otherwise assist at the drive. Your contribution is valued by your community. Through your generosity, time and commitment, you give hope to all patients and their families.”

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