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K-State Today

April 1, 2013

K-State's bone marrow registration drive is the starting line for saving a life

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

In less time than it takes to brush your teeth, you can register to become a bone marrow donor and begin the process to save a life. That's what the Kansas State University community will have the opportunity to do on April 16, 17 and 20 at various campus locations.

Sponsored by the office of student activities and services, the K-State Bone Marrow Registration Organization's first bone marrow donor registration drive is the first step in becoming a bone marrow donor. With a simple cheek swab, testers at the drive will determine the potential donor's tissue type and place them on a donor list.

Most healthy individuals between the ages of 18 and 55 can donate. Before registering, each donor should fit the following criteria:

* Weigh more than 110 pounds but have a body mass index of 40 or less.

* Have not had heart surgery or heart disease.

* Are not HIV positive or have not been diagnosed with AIDS.

* Do not have autoimmune disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia.

For a complete list of requirements, visit the DKMS America website. The organization is a national bone marrow donation center that is partnering with Kansas State University's donor registration drive.

DKMS America works to find tissue matches for patients with serious illnesses, such as leukemia. According to the organization, less than 1 percent of registered donors will ever be matched with a patient. If a registered donor is matched with a patient, DKMS America will contact him or her to provide a blood sample to confirm the match.

Donating is easier today than ever before. A majority of bone marrow donors do so with a simple procedure -- similar to donating blood -- over one or two days. Others donate bone marrow through an outpatient surgical procedure during which they receive general anesthesia and feel no pain. In both options, there is no cost to the donor.

After a donation, the donor's healthy blood-forming stem cells are transfused directly into the patient's bloodstream, where they can begin to function and multiply.

Aileen McDaniel, junior in management, Shawnee, and a student coordinator for the event, said she hoped many from the Kansas State University community would take a few minutes out of their day to stop by the registration drive. McDaniel's father received a bone marrow transplant in 2012 from the single donor match found in the world.

"We don't know who she was, but she gave our family the gift of more time together," McDaniel said. "My father recently celebrated 100 days since the transplant. Without that one donor, we would still be waiting. It is the ultimate example of how a single person can make a difference and save a life."

Thousands of people with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases depend on finding matching donors who can save their lives. Patients need donors who are a close genetic match. Even with a registry of millions, six out of 10 patients never receive the lifesaving transplant they need.

For more information, including registration locations around campus, visit the university's bone marrow registration drive page.