Students in training for allied health careers understand the needs of patients
Danbury, CT. The Danbury campus of the Harris School of Business is making a difference in the lives of others. This month, 12 students and faculty signed up for the Be The Match Registry, a bone marrow donation registry that is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program.
Joining the registry is the first step. It requires filling out paperwork and giving a cheek swab that tests your tissue type. After that, your name is added to the registry. Based on the results of your cheek swab, you may be contacted at any time as a potential match for a patient who needs a bone marrow transplant or peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC).
“We were very pleased with the response from students and staff members. Healthcare is what we teach here at the Harris School, and we believe that our students are compassionate and generous when it comes to helping those with health needs,” says Sharon Pereira, director of Career Services.
Bone marrow transplants and PBSC donations can help treat over 50 life-threatening diseases including leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia, and aplastic anemia.
Being a part of the registry is an important commitment. If you are asked to donate, you will first go through additional blood testing to be sure of the match. Donating PBSC involves removing the donor’s blood with a needle in one arm, passing the blood through a machine that separates out the needed cells, and then returning the remaining blood through the other arm. Donating bone marrow involves a surgical procedure where the liquid marrow is removed from the donor’s pelvic bones. This procedure is done with anesthesia.
As a potential donor, your name will be kept on the registry until you are 61 years old. Be the Match emphasizes that you always have the option to change your mind, but if you do, the registry asks that you contact them right away to remove your name from the list. Also, you should keep your contact information up to date in the registry so that they can contact you quickly when needed. Remember, for patients in need of donations, there is no time to spare.
The registry includes approximately 12.5 million volunteers who are at the ready to donate life-saving bone marrow. In addition, the registry houses over 209,000 umbilical cord blood units, from parents who have donated their baby’s cord blood. These volunteers and their donations can truly save the lives of others.
We are proud that students and staff from the Danbury campus of the Harris School have joined this important effort to help save the lives of people suffering from blood-related illnesses. If you are interested in joining the registry or learning more, the Be The Match website provides detailed information on signing up, your commitment, and what to expect from the process.