Kappa Delta Pi to sponsor bone marrow drive

All it takes is photo identification and a quick cheek swab.

UW-Eau Claire’s Epsilon Omicron chapter of Kappa Delta Pi is sponsoring a bone marrow drive from noon to 7 p.m. today in the Arrowhead Room of Davies Center.

At that time, individuals can register with the National Marrow Donor Program, which helps doctors find donor matches for patients who require a bone marrow transplant.

Senior Sarah Rottier, who is the historian for KDP, said the test itself is painless.

“Because it is so painless and because it can really make a difference in someone else’s life, I think it is a very important drive that everyone can participate in,” she said in an e-mail to The Spectator.

Rottier said the KDP was approached by the Chippewa Falls Middle School to see if the university could help the drive the school had already started.

Lisa Johnson, an English teacher at the school, said they started participating in the drive ten years ago, but that it hasn’t gone on continuously.

“This is my first year doing it,” she said. “We had a student die in January from Leukemia, and we have other students who have it now. We’re doing it in memory of two students.”

According to the National Marrow Donor Program Registry’s Web site, as many as 6,000 people need a bone marrow transplant on any given day. The marrow is used to treat leukemia, lymphoma and other diseases.

The tissue type test required to join the registry normally costs $52. Bill and Karen Bejin, both retired from the Chippewa Falls school system, were going to donate $7,000 in order to cover the cost of the tests. However, the NMDP has an ongoing promotion called “Thanks Mom” in which the goal is to get 46,000 people registered. While the promotion is going on, all tests are free of charge.

“The Bejin’s originally contacted the middle school to do the drive,” Johnson said. “Their son Chad was one of the students who died. They were willing to give up the money. But thanks to this promotion, we are able to test everyone for free.”

Individuals participating in the drive need to bring photo identification as well as contact information of two family members or friends in case of an address change.

“I do hope this is continued at (Eau Claire),” Rottier said. “It is an easy way to possibly give a family more time together with someone who is ill, or save someone’s life.”