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Be The Match at Wayne State University

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April 14, 2017

When she joined the Be The Match bone marrow registry more than eight years ago, Ericka Matthews-Jackson didn’t know when or if she would be called on to help someone in need of a lifesaving donation.

The call came in November 2016 — Matthews-Jackson, WSU’s director of admissions, was matched as a donor for a 30-year-old woman with leukemia. She was able to successfully donate blood stem cells in January 2017, and later received the encouraging news that the woman had responded positively to the treatment.

“Donating was a humbling and minimally invasive experience,” Matthews-Jackson said. “When you join the registry, you may be the one person out of millions who will be the best match for someone.”

To help connect more individuals with those in need, Wayne State University’s Division of Enrollment Management will host its first Be The Match bone marrow registry drive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 18, 2017. Members of the campus community between the ages of 18 and 44 are invited to register to become a bone marrow donor.

The drive aims to add 1,000 Warriors to the Be The Match Registry, which connects marrow transplants from donors with patients who have leukemia, lymphoma, aplastic anemia and other potentially life-threatening blood cancers.

During the drive, there will be various locations across campus — including the Student Center, Undergraduate Library, the Welcome Center and more — where individuals can register. Potential donors are required to provide their contact information upon registering and a swab of the mouth is collected. Once an individual joins the registry, they will be contacted if they are a potential match for a patient in need.

Each hour, more than six people die from some form of blood cancer. The National Marrow Donor Program — the nonprofit organization that operates the Be The Match registry — estimates that 70 percent of patients in need of a transplant do not have a matched donor in their family.

The registry currently includes nearly 13.5 million individuals who are willing to be a lifesaving bone marrow donor. Be The Match relies on this large and diverse pool of volunteers because patients in need of donation are most likely to match with someone of the same ethnicity. 

 “A donor is usually a patient’s last hope for a cure,” Matthews-Jackson said. “It was an honor and a privilege to know that just by registering and saying ‘yes’ when called upon, I was able to save a life. You might be the match for someone, too.”

For additional information about WSU’s Be The Match drive, contact Jeremy Headd at 313-577-0123 or headd@wayne.edu. To learn more about bone marrow donation and the Be The Match registry, visit bethematch.org.

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