Striving to be more than a social group, the Valencia Student Nursing Association (VNSA) organized a bone marrow registry drive, in hopes that even one match could save a life. Partnering with Kids Beating Cancer, an associate of the National Marrow Donor Program, the drive took place July 1, on Valencia’s West Campus.
With four quick swabs of the cheek, genetic material is collected, analyzed and entered into a nation- wide database that runs searches 6,000 times a day, in hopes of making a match.
John Kennedy, vice president of the VSNA was inspired to run a bone marrow drive after attending a national student nursing conference. Kennedy heard of a bone marrow drive at Villanova University which, resulted in three donors being matched including an 18-month old child.
“People associate bone marrow with 12 inch needles and lots of pain,” said Kennedy. “It’s just not like that anymore. All it takes is a couple seconds to save someone’s life.”
The bone marrow drive at Valencia registered 116 people to be potential donors. Their information will stay in the registry until the age of 61. Anytime there is a match, the potential donor is contacted and screened to determine if they are a good match for the patient.
Bone marrow transplants are a common treatment for leukemia and other cancers that manifest in the marrow. 75 percent of those who will need a transplant will not find a donor in their family. Some never make it off the transplant list succumbing to their illness before finding a donor.
The Valencia Student Nursing Association plans on running more bone marrow drives in the upcoming semesters, and hopefully extending the drive to all Valencia campuses.