A group of Wylie Middle and Junior High girls coordinated a successful bone marrow registry drive Jan. 31 in conjunction with the Mall of Abilene’s Get Fit Fitness Fair.
“Tween Titans,” a Destination Imagination team from Wylie, partnered with Dyess Air Force Base to raise awareness and conduct the drive.
The team members have seen a couple of classmates affected by blood cancer, and one of the team members’ cousins was a recipient of a bone marrow transplant a few years ago. They saw a community need and took action.
“I’m really proud of them,” said Kathy Burnitt, Tween Titans coach. “They’ve done a lot in the past two weeks to pull this together.”
Two organizations, Delete Blood Cancer and Salute to Life, participated in the registry drive to accommodate civilians and military personnel for the painless process.
In order to collect cells for testing, a participant must rinse his or her mouth with water. Then the participant will swab each cheek for 30 seconds, place the swabs in an envelope and hand it back to the volunteer for further processing. The swabs are sent off to a lab to determine whether the applicant is a match.
“There are about 14,000 people in the registry waiting for a match,” said Casey Hayden, Tween Titans coach and father of a Destination Imagination team member.
For every 100 people that register for a drive, there will be one match. The odds of finding a match are rare, so the more people that sign up to register, the better a chance of finding a match and saving a life.
“My personal goal is to find two matches because it’s so rare to even find one,” said sixth-grader Alize Curry, an ambitious Destination Imagination team member.
About 80 civilians showed up to participate in the Delete Blood Cancer drive, and at least 83 military personnel came to support the Salute to Life organization on the day of the event.
Both organizations pay for the expenses of bone marrow donors and accept donations. Go to deletebloodcancer.org or salutetolife.org for more information on the fight against blood cancers.