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giftoflife

College Junior Madeline Moore became the Campus Ambassador of the Gift of Life program and leads the club at Penn with six other members who hold two to three cheek swab drives a month. Courtesy of Madeline Moore

For College junior Madeline Moore, the cure to blood cancer is just a few thousand cheek swabs away.

Last year Moore learned about the Gift of Life Marrow Registry,  a 25-year-old nonprofit that fights blood cancer by creating a large tested donor database. This registry can be used by doctors when searching for potential bone marrow donors and by researchers working to find a cure. She signed up as Penn’s Campus Ambassador and began her work spreading awareness and getting cheek swabs for testing.

“When I heard about it I really wanted to get involved because it is was such an amazing cause and a good opportunity to save lives,” Moore said. “It’s also very important work because helping people get tested can have a huge impact.”

This year, Moore decided to expand, registering Gift of Life as an official club with a board of six members as well as around 15 volunteers. The club receives testing kits from the Gift of Life national organization, which are then used for two to three drives a month. The completed kits are then sent back to headquarters for testing.

In addition to helping build a large registry of possible donors, the Gift of Life club hopes to raise awareness about blood cancer and help get more students involved in the fight.

“It’s all about getting people more comfortable with the testing process because there are a lot of misconceptions about it,” Moore said. “If you’re interested in health care or you’re a nursing student or you want to get involved with a great cause, you should come help out.”

To pay for kit testing, the club also runs fundraising events. At a recent fundraiser outside of Smokey Joe's, the club was flooded with support, even receiving a $388 donation from a particularly enthusiastic supporter.

Moore hopes all of her work will help show other students how powerful they can be in the fight against blood cancer.

“The cure for blood cancer is 10,000 of us walking around campuses and all you have to do is make the decision to get swabbed and that’s something I really want people to know.”

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