Match game on campus looks for potential donors

April 17, 2012 5:41 AM

New Wave staff

This week, students volunteering with a Tulane Hillel project will once again swab the cheeks of hundreds on campus. Information about each volunteer’s tissue type will be entered into the Gift of Life National Bone Marrow Registry, potentially to be matched for a bone marrow transplant.

The project will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (April 17, 18 and 19) from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the Lavin-Bernick Center, and from 5:30 until 8:30 p.m. at Bruff Commons on the uptown campus.

“It takes 5 to 10 minutes and can help save someone’s life, even though the actual probability of being a match is 1 in 1,000," says Jillian Goldberg, a junior majoring in Jewish studies from Cincinnati who is heading up the campaign. “In the past two years at Tulane we have swabbed 932 people. This has produced 12 matches and of those 12, three life-saving transplants have been performed. Thus, Tulane has already beaten the odds and has been recognized as one of the leading college campuses in recruiting bone marrow donors.”

Every year, thousands are stricken with leukemia and other blood-related diseases, says Goldberg.

“Today, transplantation of healthy stem cells donated by related and unrelated volunteers offers hope to many patients suffering from these deadly diseases. Advances in transplantation have made this procedure a reality for thousands who are alive today because a stranger gave them the gift of life.”
For many patients in need of a bone marrow donor, finding a match is no easy task. Through the national registry, a volunteer who has participated in the cheek swabbing may be contacted to become a suitably matched potential donor for a patient.

“The only way you will ever know if you can help save a life is by taking the first step to be tested,” Goldberg says.

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Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000