Students and alumni helped raise awareness about blood cancer through a blood donor drive Monday through Thursday in the McGlothlin Campus Center.
Sponsored by alumnus Early Young and nonprofit DKMS, the drive will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. and anyone can register or donate.
Chelsea Fordham, DKMS student ambassador for ACU, said all freshman Cornerstone classes were given an opportunity to compete for the participation in registering as a blood donor, donations and encouraging others to register. The winning class will receive a pizza party or ice cream sundae party.
Young, alumnus and Olympic gold medalist, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2011, and a bone marrow transplant saved his life. Young has since become dedicated to deleting blood cancer and encouraging college students to become potential donors. Young partnered with international non-profit, DKMS, which focuses on educating the population about stem cell and bone marrow donations to help save the lives of people battling blood diseases.
During the drive Young, students involved with DKMS and volunteers educated and registered students for the donor registration list to help patients in need find donor matches. The process involves learning more about bone marrow and stem cell donations, registering on a form and swabbing each cheek for a total of 30 seconds.
“Every person needs an exact genetic match,” Fordham said. “If you have a life threatening blood disease or cancer and need stem cells or a blood marrow donations, you need your specific match to survive.”
Fordham said after their cheeks are swabbed, potential donors’ genetic makeup gets tested and potentially matched to someone with blood cancer. If matched, the donor either undergoes a stem cells option, or a bone marrow transplant, a one to two hour surgical procedure.
“You’ll wake up sore, but the feeling of being able to save a life last forever,” said Fordham.
Donors can meet the recipient of their donation after one year.