| 03.20.2018

Strong bones for sharing – Bone marrow registration event to be held on UI campus


In 2012, Anthony Roring was not only faced with the daunting new task of fatherhood, but also with a diagnosis that would change his life forever.

Roring was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a type of leukemia, and after attempts at other procedures, it was determined that he would have a small chance of survival if he did not get a bone marrow transfusion. With no viable matches in his family, Roring turned to the Be the Match Registry. Within the year he received his transplant from a 19-year-old German boy.

Now, years later, Roring and his family are happy and healthy because of the choice that boy made. Roring now has two more sons, one of whom was named Kevin, after the donor.

Roring said spreading awareness of programs like Be the Match Registry is incredibly important and college campuses are a great place to do that. He said providing the option for people to donate can make a huge difference.

“It made a life-saving difference for me,” Roring said.

Jessica Mcdermott, outreach student coordinator at the University of Idaho Center for Volunteerism and Social Action, is Roring”s cousin, and she has begun to promote bone marrow registration drives in connection with Be the Match Registry. She will host her first registration drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday in the TLC lounge.

“I wanted to do something to make more people aware of this,” Mcdermott said. “This may sound cheesy or cliche, but this is a way you could actually save someone”s life.”

Courtney Stoker, another outreach student coordinator, acknowledged the many misconceptions about what actually happens at these events. She said this will be a registration drive, and no bone marrow will be taken on location.

“All that”s going to happen at this event is we are going to be swabbing people”s cheeks,” Stoker said.

Once a person”s cheek is swabbed, they are placed in the registry, and if they are ever determined to be a match for someone in need they will be contacted.

“At a bone marrow registration drive you”re not donating anything,” Mcdermott said.

There are also misunderstandings about the intensity of the procedure, Mcdermott said. She said the donation process is far less damaging than many assume. She said she has even heard a story of a person running a marathon the day after because, while the procedure isn”t painless, it”s non-invasive and doesn”t require much recovery time.

Mcdermott said to join the registry, a person must be between the ages of 18 and 44. They must also answer some questions about their health in order to ensure the safety of both parties involved, as well as confirm that they are fully committed to donating to anybody who may need their help.

“Even if you don”t want to register you can still come talk to us and learn what you can do to help,” Mcdermott said. “Our goal is to help you be educated on the subject.”

Mcdermott said because this issue affects so many she hopes to get as many people involved as possible.

“Every four minutes there”s a person diagnosed with some type of blood cancer,” she said. “Seventy percent of people do not find a match in their family so usually it has to be someone outside the family who is willing to donate.”

Austin Maas can be reached at  arg-news@uidaho.edu  or on Twitter@austindmaas

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