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York THON Committee Sponsors Bone Marrow Drive Jan. 29

1/20/2010 —

Penn State York THON is teaming up with the Be the Match Registry to sponsor a bone marrow Drive on Friday, Jan. 29 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the Community Room of the Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center at the campus. Thousands of people with leukemia, lymphoma, and other life-threatening diseases depend on bone marrow donations as a way to save their lives through a transplant.

Penn State York student Savannah Smith, Red Lion, spearheaded the idea to do the drive and knows personally the importance of bone marrow drives and transplants. Smith’s brother Jed battled acute lymphoblastic leukemia for almost eight years until he died on Jan, 3, 2010.

"There are a lot of people, young and old, in our community that suffer from cancer and diseases such as aplastic anemia, metabolic disorders, etc. that rely on the Be the Match Registry to help save their lives. For me, the planning process of this drive hit very close to home when a bone marrow transplant became the next step in treatment for my 12-year-old brother,” said Smith. “I wanted to bring awareness about the Be the Match Registry to our community because I have learned its importance first-hand. It is a very easy way to potentially help save someone else's life because the registration process is only four painless cheek swabs, it's free and it takes less than 15 minutes."

Almost 70 percent of patents cannot find a matching donor within their family and therefore depend on the registry to find an unrelated bone marrow donor. Anyone between the ages of 18 and 60 in overall good health that meets the medical guidelines set by the National Marrow Donor Program is eligible to join the registry. The medical guidelines can be viewed at www.marrow.org.

A bone marrow transplant could benefit more than 10,000 people with serious diseases each year according to Be the Match Registry.  During the drive, participants will have a brief medical screening and then swab the inside of their mouth four times to become a part of the registry that could save a life. Military personnel interested in donating should contact the C.W. Bill Young Marrow Donor Center to register.

THON is the world’s largest student-run philanthropy and has raised more than $61 million since its start in 1973 all benefitting children with pediatric cancer through the Four Diamonds Fund at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center. Since so many of the patients supported by the Four Diamonds Fund often receive bone marrow transplants and rely on the Be the Match Registry, it was natural for the York THON group to sponsor the drive, help spread awareness, and bring the opportunity to register to the area. Penn State York will be sending two dancers to THON on Feb. 19 – 21 to participate in the 46-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park.

Staff from the Be the Match Registry and Penn State York THON committee members will be working during the drive. For more information on the bone marrow drive at York, please contact Smith at srs5379@psu.edu.

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