University of Florida ambassadors for The Gift of Life Marrow Registry are on campus in Turlington Plaza this week encouraging community members to join the bone marrow registry. The event “Will You Marrow Me?” is focused on finding marrow matches for those in need.
“One of my really good friends gave his bone marrow to a patient a couple months ago and he said it was life changing,” said Meaghan Hanley, a UF student.
“I think it’s just an amazing cause and I firmly believe what goes around comes around,” Hanley said. “So if I’m able to help someone out, I’m definitely going to.”
Hanley was told about the event by a friend and decided to join the registry. The process of joining the registry takes about five minutes and consists of writing your name on a swab kit, filling out a brief medical history and swabbing the four corners of your mouth with a cotton swab for about 10 seconds each.
Campus ambassador Edward Datz said he strongly encourages those in good health to apply to the registry and potentially save a life.
“If you have the health and the ability to fight and work for those who don’t, I think it is your obligation as a human being to do it and that’s why I’m doing it,” Datz said. “That’s why I woke up two hours earlier than I had to today because I’m potentially saving lives.”
After you take 40 seconds to swab, the ambassadors seal the swabs to be shipped to their headquarters and processed for potential matches. When the DNA profiles are processed, a confirmed match could save a life.
While the swabbing is fast and painless, the actual procedure is a little tougher.
Ryan Perez, a Life South Technician, said there are two ways to get the marrow if you are a match, but it could be painful.
“It’s an outpatient procedure that’s typically okay but can be painful,” Perez said.
Datz said the fear shouldn’t discourage people to join the registry to donate.
“People don’t realize just how rare it is to be a match. There’s a one in a thousand chance of actually being a match and in my opinion, you’re a hero just for trying,” Datz said. “There’s a good chance you’ll never be called upon again but if you are that 1 in 1000 chance, it means that you could save someone’s life.”
Some are not discouraged by that fear and are hoping to receive that phone call saying they are a match.
“If I get the call one day I definitely want to be able to help that person that very much so needs it,” said Hanley.
Datz said UF had a match just last month, “so that proves that joining the registry and getting swabbed really can make a difference.”