Thousands of people each year are diagnosed with deadly blood-related diseases. Three Florida Gulf Coast University students believe that volunteers can be the cure.
What started as an idea for an honors civic engagement course has become the Be the Match Marrow Drive, which will take place on the library lawn from 2 to 5 p.m. Nov. 12. Be the Match is a national organization that manages a bone marrow registry and attempts to connect potential donors with patients.
“In the last 20 years, bone marrow donations have actually become a less painful procedure than they once were,” said Jaimie Kittle, a junior biology major involved with the project. “We are hoping to raise awareness about blood-related diseases and have volunteers to have their DNA put into a marrow registry.”
The other two coordinators are Sarah Holley and Molly Nurcyzk.
Nurcyzk came up with the idea of a bone marrow drive for a civic engagement project because of her past experience with a blood-related disease.
“Molly has had a friend who has been affected by a blood-related disease, and the idea really just appealed to us as a project,” Kittle said.
The event will involve music, food, lawn games and an information booth. At the information booth, volunteers will be given a mouth swab kit, and will be able to send their DNA to the Be the Match headquarters in Minneapolis. From there, the DNA will be stored and volunteers could be contacted in the future to donate marrow or blood and save a life.