Guest column: Be the Match bone marrow registry coming to Kent State

Alan Rhea

This upcoming Monday, Kent State students can take the first step to saving a life by joining the Be The Match bone marrow registry. With a simple swab of your cheek, you will be added to the registry so that one day, when a patient needs to find a bone marrow match, you will have the opportunity to provide a life-saving donation.

For thousands of patients suffering from a debilitating disease or cancer, a bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor is their best or only hope for a cure. Patients depend on Be The Match to find a donor — and a second chance at life.

It is difficult to match the exact genetic makeup of two individuals, and because of this, there is only a 1 percent chance you will ever actually donate bone marrow. Essentially, when a bone marrow transplant is successful, the weak immune system of a sick person is replaced with the healthy immune system of a healthy person. For a small sacrifice, a person’s life can be saved.

If, for example, Be The Match finds you are a genetic match to an individual in need of healthy bone marrow, you will be contacted and asked if you are still willing to donate. If you agree to continue, a doctor will retest your DNA to ensure you are a match, and if so, the donation process will begin.

To donate, you will be put to sleep with anesthesia so you feel no pain, and bone marrow is then taken from the pelvic bone. The process takes less than one hour. Previous bone marrow donors have explained that they feel either minor soreness for a few weeks after the procedure or they feel none at all.

To register, visit the Be The Match table 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday at the second floor of the Student Center. A representative from Be The Match will be present to answer your questions. If you wish to donate early, contact [email protected] to arrange a meeting. Information forms and swab kits will be provided, questions will be answered and the entire process takes no longer than 10 minutes.

To give bone marrow is to save a life. Those who have received bone marrow in a time of need are eternally grateful for the small sacrifice made by average donors. The probability of donating is very low, but you may be a patient’s last hope of recovery. Sign up Monday and be the cure to those in need.

If you would like to help Be The Match with the event, contact [email protected] To donate $10 to Be The Match, text MATCH 311 to 50555 and respond ‘Yes’ to the prompt. For more information, visit bethematch.org or call 800-MARROW-2.

Alan Rhea

Guest Columnist