Donating could save a life

Bone Marrow Drive asking for students, community to register



Story by Steve Fruehauf, Sports Editor

Sacred Heart Hospital and the UW-Eau Claire Student Nurses Association will team up for their second annual bone marrow drive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today in the Maple Lounge Room in Davies Center. Over 100 donors registered at last year’s event.

Since receiving her own transplant in 2005, Sacred Heart surgical technologist Hailey Craig said she thought an event would be a perfect way to spread awareness and get potential donors to register for the cause.

“We want to make sure people understand what goes into donating if they do get called and make sure that they are committed volunteers and that they would be available to donate if there was a person who was in need of their tissue type,” Craig said.

Craig said she brought up the idea to a Sacred Heart organ donation committee last year, and it was received well. She then contacted a representative from Be The Match, a non-profit organization and global leader in bone marrow transplants, to see if they would help with the event, she said.

Be The Match Account Executive Julie Slipka said they were on board immediately. Slipka suggested contacting the Student Nurses Association to help work the event. Given the road nursing students are pursuing, Slipka said they were a great fit for the cause.

“Last year, we did 107 (registries) at Eau Claire,” Slipka said. “This year we want to beat that and I think we have a good chance …  Any average person can save a life.”

Craig said it was important for not only students, but everyone to know how much of an impact they can have on someone’s life given the opportunity to donate. Special education major Britta Ave’Lallemant said she registered for the donor’s list when she was 18.

“My dad had a bone marrow transplant, and my family and I moved out to Seattle, Washington so he could receive his bone marrow transplant,”  Ave’Lallemant said. “So I became very aware of the process at that time.”

She said she took a special interest once she entered college and contacted Be The Match to get involved. She was a part of last year’s inaugural event and said she hopes there is an even larger turnout this time around.

“We are just hoping to get as many as possible,” Ave’Lallemant said. “Anyway you can partake in it is awesome. There are 11,000 students at this university, so it would be cool to get even more students if possible.”

There are no physical donations at the event, just a cheek swab that will be tested for donor and recipient compatibility. Slipka said if people are unable to physically help for any reason, they also accept monetary donations. All proceeds go to patient assistance and research.