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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

‘Will you marrow me?’ Gift of Life program offers help

Jenn McFadden

Mississippi State University seeks to give students the opportunity to save lives through the Gift of Life program.

Gift of Life Bone Marrow Registry is a blood stem cell and international bone marrow registry with many donors seeking to find matches for people suffering from leukemia, blood cancer, lymphoma and many other blood disorders. 

Bone marrow or blood stem cell transplants give people suffering from these disorders hope for a cure. 

This organization is fairly new at MSU and hopes it will give students the opportunity to assist in saving a life by having their cheek swabbed. By doing this, they are entered into the international bone marrow registry. 

To date, Gift of Life at MSU has swabbed over 700 students and seeks to get the word out about their organization so this number will grow throughout the coming year.  

Bradley Welch, MSU’s Gift of Life campus ambassador, is extremely passionate about this organization and the impact it has on the lives of others.

 “Through its Campus Ambassador program, Gift of Life has created a network of over 100 college students on campuses across the country to educate students about becoming voluntary donors as well as offering them the opportunity to save a life through registering as a donor via cheek swab. I am proud to be representing Mississippi State University,” Welch said.

Welch discussed the need to raise awareness at MSU. 

“If we raise awareness about the great need to increase the number of donors in the registry, more matches can be found and, in turn, more patients can be helped,” Welch said. “Right now only 2 percent of Americans are registered, and 1 in 200 Americans will need a transplant in their lifetime.”

In a recent drive hosted at MSU, on Sept. 15, 2016, for “World Marrow Donor day” a donor match was made. 

Taylor Johnson, vice chairman of MSU’s Gift of Life discussed the recent match.

“A donor recruited at this drive that took place at MSU facilitated a match for a 13-year-old girl battling Leukemia,” Johnson said, “This shows the success and impact of Gift of Life here on our campus.” 

The organization plans to raise awareness at MSU so that more matches like this one will occur. 

MSU Gift of Life has set a goal to swab 800 students during the spring semester. Students can help by becoming a donor and being entered into the registry.  

Jesse Smith, MSU Gift of Life activities director, has been volunteering with this organization for a while now; he helps with the facilitating and planning of each drive. 

“The process has been made significantly easier with the use of a preregistration system,” Smith said.”  “This system allows donors to register and fill out their health history via email prior to the event. At the event, their cheek is swabbed and then the process is finished.” 

The organization strives to make this process as quick and easy as they can. 

“We make it as easy as possible to get swabbed. The whole process is over in less than 10 minutes,” Smith said. 

For those interested in taking part of this life- saving organization, MSU will be hosting a drive on Feb. 13. The “Will You Marrow Me?” drive will be held on campus from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.There will be drawings to win gift cards at the drive. 

Students are encouraged to take a step in saving a life by entering the donor registry on Feb. 13.

There is no better way to show love this Valentine’s day than by helping find a cure for someone with very little hope. 

“There will be many more drives throughout the semester just keep an eye on our social media to see when,” Smith said. 

Many people are interested in what happens if there is a match for someone, and luckily, the process is fairly simple. There are two different types of matches. 

If someone is a peripheral blood stem cell donor match, which accounts for 80 percent of donors, blood stem cells will be collected using a process called Apheresis. This process is similar to donating platelets. 

If someone is a match to donate bone marrow, which accounts for the other 20 percent of donors, these donors will undergo a cell-harvesting process.  Cells will be taken from the back top of the hipbone, the iliac crest. This is an outpatient procedure so it is possible that one can be in and out of the hospital that same day. 

Some are still hesitant to join because of the fear of pain, but the pain is taken care of with anesthesia. The process is quick, simple and painless. 

It is truly a miracle when a match is made because only 1 in 1000 individuals that join the registry will actually be able to donate.  

The process is easy, the need is great and the reward is priceless. To learn more about Gift of Life or register today, visit their website at

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‘Will you marrow me?’ Gift of Life program offers help