Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine’s 8th Annual Organ & Bone Marrow Donor Registration Drive is set for Oct. 15-16.
Eighth Annual OUWB Organ & Bone Marrow Donor Registration Drive set for Oct. 15-16
Bone Marrow Drive planned for October
For 2019, the drive will be held at Oakland University’s Kresge Library on Oct. 15-16, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The drive is open to the public.

Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine’s 8th Annual Organ & Bone Marrow Donor Registration Drive is set for Oct. 15-16.

Stephanie Swanberg, associate professor, Information Literacy & eLearning Librarian, OUWB, said the hope is to not only foster increased awareness of the need for such programs, but to sign up as many potential donors as possible.

Since its launch, Swanberg said volunteers have engaged with nearly 2,000 people at Oakland University, including nearly 500 who have signed up to be potential organ and/or bone marrow donors.

“This has truly become a campus-wide partnership with multiple student groups and organizations,” Swanberg said. “It’s become a nice service event for the whole school community to get together and raise awareness of these issues.”

OUWB held its first organ donor registration drive in 2012, and in conjunction with a statewide effort called Michigan Libraries for Life.

More than 150 libraries across the state now participate in the drive that is generally held in early to mid-October.

Swanberg said libraries get involved as an extension of their everyday service-based offerings. She also said OUWB’s drive is the only one that serves a dual purpose.

That started in 2014, when an OUWB student interest group — the Student National Medical Association — proposed expanding OUWB’s organ donor drive to include a bone marrow donor registration component.

“I said ‘Of course’…the more we can raise awareness, the more we can spread the word about both organ donation and bone marrow donor registration, the more people we can help,” Swanberg said.

Since then, other student interest groups have become involved: Minority Association for Pre-Medical Students; Cancer Awareness Society; and Be The Match at Oakland University.

About 50 faculty, students, and staff volunteer to help with the drive.

For 2019, the drive will be held at Oakland University’s Kresge Library on Oct. 15-16, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The drive is open to the public, which means potential donors aren’t limited to Oakland University students, faculty, and staff.


Registering is easy

Bone Marrow and Organ Donor Drive set for OctoberDuring the event, potential organ donors for the state of Michigan registry can ask volunteers questions and/or sign-up on the spot. Swanberg said it takes about 30 seconds. A driver’s license, state identification card, or even just an address are the only requirements. Swanberg said it’s effective immediately.

“When someone passes on, they could save up to eight other lives by having their organs go to someone else,” she said. “We call it their ‘sequel.’”

The process is a bit more involved for those who want to potentially become bone marrow donors on the national Be The Match registry.

Registrants must be between the ages of 18 and 44, per Be The Match requirements. Eligible donors will then fill out an information form before providing four samples taken from cheek swabs. The entire process takes about 20 minutes.

Swanberg said a few matches have occurred in the past for people who signed up to get on the registry through the drive at OU.

Bone marrow donations can help others battling serious conditions, such as leukemias and lymphomas, inherited metabolic disorders, and many more. (A list can be found here.)

“There are any number of diseases and conditions that can be treated with this so it can really give someone a second chance at life,” she said.

Stefanie Attardi, Ph.D., assistant professor, OUWB, shared her story last year of how she ended up joining the Canadian national registry, Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Registry (formerly OneMatch Stem Cell & Marrow Network).

She ultimately matched for another person and subsequently went through the process of donating.

“It had the potential to save a life with next to no risk to me,” Attardi said. “It was something so little on my part that could change the life of someone and their loved ones.”

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at adietderich@oakland.edu

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