Gift of Life
By Becca Meiner, Class of 2017
Rutgers Hillel Student Board Community Service Chair
Donating bone marrow or stem cells is one of the greatest gifts you can give someone. It is the gift of life. What better gift can one give? Patients with leukemia and other blood cancers can have a second chance to live as long as they have a perfect match who will donate their bone marrow. Gift of Life’s mission is to provide a match anytime, anywhere, for anyone. No one should be told that there is no hope in a time when we have a cure for blood cancer. The cure is simple: the more people in the bone marrow registry, the more lives we save! Gift of Life makes it fast and easy to enter the registry; it takes 60 seconds to fill out the form and swab your cheek.
The registry has allowed thousands of patients to find their perfect match and get a second chance to live! 70 percent don’t have a related match and need to search the registry for their life-saving match. I am passionate about doing cheek swabbing drives on campus. Age affects transplants since younger donors produce more blood forming stem cells. The majority of donors are between the ages of 18 and 25 so college campuses are the best places to register young donors! Believe it or not, gender also impacts transplants. 100,000 female donors will facilitate 400 transplants while the
same amount of male donors will facilitate 1,200 transplants. This is because the average size of male donors is larger, which results in greater stem cell yield and has potentially faster engraftment (this is the process of recovering from a transplant when new blood-forming cells grow and make healthy blood stem cells). Through Gift of Life’s Campus Ambassador Program, representatives in all 50 states are recruiting new donors to the registry and raising money to help cover the cost of testing each kit that gets sent to the lab (each kit costs $60 to test!).
The math is simple: the more college-aged donors who sign up, the more lives are saved. The first step is to get swabbed and then you just might be someone’s hero one day! Whether it’s swabbing your cheek, getting a friend to swab theirs, or donating a few dollars – YOU could be a part in saving someone’s life!
Rutgers Hillel Gift of Life Bone Marrow Cheek Swabbing Drive
Thursday, October 29 @ 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm and 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm outside of ROTC at 157 College Avenue
Friday, October 30 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm in the Livingston Student Center
On Thursday, October 29 we’re also having a Blood Drive @ 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm outside of ROTC – 157 College Avenue