WKU Event Seeks Bone Marrow Donors

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Blood cancer is the second leading cause of all cancer deaths in the U.S. and someone is diagnosed with it every four minutes. Registering to become a potential bone marrow donor takes about two minutes and just a couple swabs of a cheek, and it's what some WKU students did today.

"God forbid something happen to anyone in my family that they would need bone marrow, I would just pray that someone would have the heart to donate and just put their name on a list," said Caitlin Dean, WKU student and registered potential donor.

One student got the idea to hold the registration event when she tested to be a match for a friend in need.

"Back at home, at our church, one of our parishioners was diagnosed with a rare blood disease, and she needed a bone marrow transplant and was given six months to live," said Katie DiTommaso, WKU Student and organizer.

DiTommaso wasn't a match, but she's determined to find someone who will be.

"I heard college age students had the best bone marrow, and we thought, let's get a bone marrow drive on campus," said DiTommaso.

She says many fear the process, but one method is very similar to donating blood.

"They'll take the blood out of your right arm, and filter out the stem cells through a machine and put the blood back into your left arm," said Ditommaso.

Delete Blood Cancer is the world's largest bone marrow donor center according to one member who donated marrow in college, and it inspired his career with the organization.

"A friend flagged me over and said are you a registered donor? I said no. He said it's just five minutes and a cheek swab, and a year later I was called as a match for a woman just a couple years older than myself. A year later I got to meet that woman," said Christian Montgomery, Delete Blood Cancer Recruitment Coordinator.

With about 200 people registering here today, DiTommaso hopes one will be a match for her friend.

Anyone can register to see if they could become a potential donor on Delete Blood Cancer's website, and they will send you a swab kit in the mail to see if you could be a match.

For more info on how to register and the donation process see their link below.

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