Change a life

Bone marrow swab drive

Shelby Johnson, Features Editor

As students in college, there are not many chances to make a change. Being busy with exams and balancing a social life, college forces a life focused on you. Altru’s helping students be able to help change people’s lives with a simple swab of the cheek.

At two different times, Altru is holding a bone marrow swab drive to find matches for those in need of a bone marrow transplant. Although this seems scary, it’s just a cotton swab to the inside of the cheek. People who participate will be put into Altru’s system for future use. The opportunity to be able to be the person to make a difference in someone’s life expectancy doesn’t come around very often. Altru is giving you the resource to do exactly that.

To be eligible to donate, Altru is searching for able 18 to 44 year olds. Of those people within the age range, they ask for those with a clean bill of health. These volunteers will join the “Be the Match” registry. This registry connects donors and patients so the likelihood of patients finding a donor that can give them the cure they need is greater than previously.

Thousands of people every year are diagnosed with life threatening blood cancers. Altru is slowly working to save some of those thousands through this drive.

It’s a rewarding process. It’s good to know we can make a huge difference to someone potentially.

— Emily Houseman, MLS Student

On Monday, April 24 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) students will be attending the Bone Marrow Swab Drive at the Ramada Inn. Students are highly encouraged to go, although there is a fee of around $20. Appetizers and a beer keg will be provided with no cost to donors.

On Wednesday, April 26 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Bone Marrow Swab Drive will be in the second floor of the new medical school. Students apart of UND’s Medical Laboratory Sciences Club and the Undergraduate Medical Association will be hosting the drive.

“We guide them through the process of the swab then we send it to be the match. The point is to get donors so more matches are possible to cure multiple cancers and diseases,” said Emily Huesman, a MLS student at UND and phlebotomist at Altru.

Huesman decided to donate as well as be apart of hosting the drive. She believes that it’s a simple thing to sacrifice to change someone’s life for the better.

“It’s a rewarding process. It’s good to know we can make a huge difference to someone potentially,” said Huesman.

Normally when people need bone marrow transplants they have cancers such as Leukemia and lymphomas. Severe anemia could also negatively effect someone although it’s rare. Diseases with poorly functioning red blood cells such as sickle cell. Most of the diseases that people acquire are hereditary.

Donors first go through the process of the cheek swab to see if they’re a match. Donors, if they’re a match with a patient, must go through a more surgical process. The donor is put under general anesthesia. Doctors use needles to withdraw liquid marrow from the back of the pelvic bone. The pain and soreness after the procedure is well worth it. Huesman reassures her peers that the pain is only temporary.

Giving someone the opportunity to live is far more important that a bit of pain. Go out. Donate. It can only benefit those in need of a transplant.

Shelby Johnson is the features editor for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]