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A Marrow Victory
CHESTERTOWN, MD—On Wednesday, December 4, the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity hosted a bone marrow drive at Washington College that resulted in 101 students registering with the National Marrow Donor Program as potential donors. The fraternity sponsored the event in conjunction with the Icla da Silva Foundation and Rock the Registry, two nonprofits that work to boost the number of marrow donors and find cures for blood cancers.
Every year, more than 12,000 patients in the U.S. are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases such as leukemia or lymphoma. A donation of bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells can save someone suffering from leukemia, lymphoma, myelodysplasia, multiple myeloma, myelofibrosis, aplastic anemia, sickle cell anemia, and immune-deficiency disorders.
The Washington College students who registered had cheek cells collected on cotton swabs. Those tissue samples will be used to find the best genetic match for patients in need of a marrow transplant. (Students who were unable to participate in the drive can still register online at RockTheRegistry.org and receive a swab kit in the mail.) Because cells from younger donors lead to more successful transplants, doctors overwhelmingly request donors in the age range of 18- to 44-year-old age group. The difficulty of finding a good match means that only about 1 in 540 volunteers who register will go on to donate bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells to a patient.
Brothers of Phi Delta Theta who worked the drive included, from left, Dominic DiMarino ’14, Quinn Johnston ’15, Brian Zohorsky ’15, Tyler Abbott ’16, Mike Wieder ’14, and John Richter ’14.