Saving someone's life may start with something as simple as a cheek swab.
Wharton freshman Andrew Brodsky is living proof. Diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 16, Brodsky received a bone marrow transplant that saved his life.
His donor - a close to perfect genetic match - was a male living in New York who had his cheek swabbed at a bone marrow registry drive that his fraternity organized at Northwestern University.
If his donor had never registered, "chances are that I wouldn't be nearly in as good position as I am now," Brodsky said.
CURE - a cancer-focused charity event founded by College junior Megan Chan - is holding a bone marrow registry drive at Penn to increase the number of potential donors.
Inspired by her family experiences with cancer - her father was diagnosed with kidney cancer when she was younger - Chan founded CURE last year with a few of her housemates.
CURE is also hosting a party tonight at Pearl, a downtown club, to raise money for cancer research. Money from ticket and raffle ticket sales will be donated to support clinical trials on cancer.
Numerous organizations on campus are co-sponsoring the event, including various fraternities and The Daily Pennsylvanian.
The registration process, which will take place all week on College Green, is simple, entailing only the completion of a form and cotton swabbing of the cheek for stem cell samples, Chan said. The group sends the samples to be tested for bone marrow type, and people who were tested are entered into a national registry.
Members will be listed on the registry until the age of 61 and may be contacted at any time for a potential donation, though they can say no.
The chances, however, of a registrant being called upon are very slim, Chan said.
"You have to be a perfect DNA match," she added.
Aside from finding potential donors, organizers also hope to educate people about bone marrow donation.
Chan said that most people are skeptical about the donation process because of the alleged level of pain involved.
"Bone marrow is a very daunting term," she said. But the donation process is "really not scary at all," she added.
Contrary to popular belief about the procedure, the process is as easy as donating blood, Chan said.
Nursing freshman Chelsea Motzel, who registered earlier this week, said she had always been interested in signing up but didn't know how.
And the prospect of the procedure didn't faze her. "It's ridiculous to worry about a bit of pain if you can save a life," Motzel said.
Over the past two days CURE has registered a total of about 250 people, including not only students but also faculty, staff and pre-freshmen visiting Penn's campus.
Registering "can make a huge difference in someone's life," said College junior Elyse Lipman, who helped organize the event.Comments powered by Disqus
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