WSC’s first-ever Bone Marrow Drive


Thadd Simpson

The National Bone Marrow registry took place in the Bluestem Room last Friday. This donor drive was hosted by Love Your Melon and Cardinal Key, with Gail Chism and Mary Kelly acting as representatives from Be The Match as well. On average, one person in 430 is called to donate, but the likelihood of being called also depends on the race of the donor. In total, 57 donors were added to the registry by the end of the event.


Fifty-seven students registered to give DNA at the first-ever Bone Marrow Drive at Wayne State College. The drive was in the Bluestem Room of the Kanter Student Center on Friday.
That puts WSC at 279 students on the bone marrow registry when combined with MAZE.
The drive was put on by Be The Match, a nonprofit organization that helps people diagnosed with diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma to get them the blood that could save their life.
Be The Match is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program.
“We want to get Wayne State on the bone marrow registry,” said student Kelsi Anderson said, who runs the Love Your Melon group on campus. “A donor can give someone battling blood cancer a second chance. It’s crucial for them to have a donor.”
Those who registered simply gave a cheek swab of their DNA, which will be analyzed to determine if it matches with someone who needs a bone marrow transplant.
“It’s all about the DNA makeup,” said Gail Chism of Be The Match. “The DNA needs to be as close as possible. A donor could have closer DNA to the patient than a family member.”
If a match is made, the donor will be sent somewhere local for the bone marrow transplant. A courier will then take the bone marrow to the patient, who could be anywhere in the country.
“Eighty percent of the time it is like giving plasma,” Chism said.
Anderson said that in other cases a needle is injected into the pelvic bone todraw the marrow out.
Blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma produce abnormal blood cells, other than the normal red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Blood cells develop from stem cells in bone marrow.
A bone marrow transplant helps the patient produce more normal blood cells that help the body with functions such as fighting off infections or preventing serious bleeding.
Anderson said the drive was a shared idea between herself and Jaelyn Lewis, the leader of Cardinal Key. They hope it will become an annual event in the future.
“I really appreciate what Kelsi has done,” Chism said. “She’s really been on it. It takes great leadership to put this together. What we get out of here today is priceless.”

Thadd Simpson
WSC student Lily Roberts swabs her mouth in order to join the National Bone Marrow registry in the Bluestem Room last Friday.