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by Sarah Monson, 2014 MBA Candidate
At this very moment, victims of leukemia and lymphoma, sickle cell and other life threatening diseases are waiting on bone marrow transplants that could save their lives. These patients wait, hopeful that a match will come forward and join the Be the Match® bone marrow registry, but for some individuals that day never comes.
Three years ago, this was the story that Associate Professor John Murray shared with his students. But it was more than just a story—it was personal. John's nephew was in need of a match.
Spurred to action, the Graduate Marketing Association has focused its philanthropic efforts on spreading awareness and increasing the donor registry over the past three years. This year, they're bringing others along.
"We got other student organizations in the MBA Program involved in the Bone Marrow Drive for the Team MBA event (an event that encourages collaboration across the orgs for a philanthropic cause). The other MBA organizations participating are MBAA, GFMA, TBSA, and MBA WI, although GMA is still the primary coordinator of the event. We continue to work with the undergraduate group Project Marrow and are also reaching outside of the MBA Program to other graduate and professional programs," said Blaine Rourick, 2013 MBA Candidate and project lead.
The UI Bone Marrow Drive is running this week, October 29 - November 2, with both undergraduate and MBA students staffing tables to spread awareness and register new donors. Registering as a donor is a quick and painless process, involving nothing more than a cheek swab, identification, and filling out a simple form. These cheek swabs will then go into a database and will be run against samples from patients all over the country who need transplants. If a match is found, the donor will be contacted and provided with additional information. For more details on the process, see the Be the Match FAQs.
In its first year, the GMA drive registered approximately 250 potential donors. Last year, that number more than doubled, with 562 new registrants. According to Student Services Director Nadia Dwight, "The cross-collaboration between student orgs and the outreach beyond the School of Management provide further opportunities to improve impact."
Alumni who would like to join the fight can help out in several ways. The cost to register a new member is about $100, and any donations to help offset that expense would be greatly appreciated (and tax-deductible). Please go to the Team MBA webpage if you are interested.
Another option to get involved is to hold a Bone Marrow Drive at your own company to help build the Be the Match Registry®. If holding a registration drive interests you, or you’d like more information on Be the Match® or the UI Bone Marrow Drive, please feel free to contact Blaine Rourick at firstname.lastname@example.org.