Be the Match helps patients get the marrow transplants they need
Every five minutes someone is diagnosed with a form of blood cancer, and even with a registry of millions, many patients cannot find a match.
Jennella Rykse, a Ferris junior in social work, organized Be the Match in honor of bone marrow transplantation. Shortly after dating her boyfriend, his dad was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). MDS can develop into a fast-growing, severe leukemia called acute myelogenous leukemia.
In the past six months, his disorder has gotten much more severe, and he is now in need of a bone marrow transplant. After being involved in a registry event over spring break, Rykse felt compelled to do something similar at FSU.
“This is something that has become very important to me recently,” Rykse said.
Rykse said she held the drive in hopes of adding people to the registry and raising awareness of the importance of bone marrow transplantation.
Although it can typically cost $100 to register, the event was free. Be The Match has special funds set aside for college campuses because college students often have blood cells that are most accepted by transplantation patients.
One student who was proud to be added to the registry was Ferris criminal justice sophomore, Steve Ohman.
“I have the ability to help people and I see no reason I wouldn’t want to or be able to donate bone marrow” Ohman said.
Ohman knew a student from high school who had Leukemia and needed several transplants and ever since has made it an effort to donate as much as he could.
The National Marrow Donor Program states that patients look to their families first, but usually only find an HLA match about 30 percent of the time. The other 70 percent of patients turn to the national registry for a donor.
“It definitely makes a difference to those who need it, and to me for having the ability to supply it,” Ohman said. “It’s not like I need it for anything more than making blood cells, and it’ll replenish itself for me, unlike in those who need the transplants.”
About 30 percent of patients with diseases like these do not find a match in their family and have to turn to the national registry. Rykse said she is adding as many people to the registry as she can.
“Students should care about this because they never know when someone in their family, or themselves may be diagnosed with one of the diseases/disorders that leaves them in need of a donor,” Rykse said.
The event was held April 10 in the lobby of the Student Recreation Center.