Originally published October 29, 2010
Athletic Department remembers one of its own
Megan Fong didn’t have a whole lot of time to make a place for herself on campus.
The freshman tennis player was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2002.
She briefly battled the disease until doctors decided she needed a bone marrow transplant. A match was found, which is no small task, and she underwent surgery.
“Finding a bone marrow match is extremely difficult, especially for minority races,” said Lyndsey Cleghorn, a student on Athletics Department’s Braves Council. “Megan was only one of three people on the registry who matched her bone marrow type, meaning she had only two other prospects … to ask for help.”
Fong died not long after the surgery.
For the last 7 years, the Athletic Department has hosted a memorial blood and bone marrow registry drive.
This year’s drive is from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday in the arena.
“Not only does this event help gaher numerous lifesaving donations of blood, it also increases awareness of the critical need for people to sign up for the bone marrow registry,” Cleghorn said.
“While blood does not discriminate based on race, bone marrow does. It is extremely rare to find a bone marrow donor who is of a different race from you.”
Students can sign up to donate blood or put themselves on the bone marrow registry on Thursday or by going to www.redcrossblood.org and entering sponsor number 2220.
A cheek swab is all that is needed to enter bone marrow information into the registry.
Two Greek houses raise awareness for registry
Sigma Delta Tau and Sigma Phi Epsilon are teaming up to bring Be The Match to campus early next week.
Be The Match is a national marrow registry that connects patients searching for an unrelated marrow match with a donor.
The event will be organized by SDT President Monica Ray and Sig Ep President Peter Stephan.
To register for Be The Match, applicants must be between 18 to 60 years old, willing to donate to anyone in need, and meet certain health guidelines.
“If a person is found to be a match, the donation process can be similar to donating blood,” Marrow Accounting Executive Danielle Vickers said. “If someone is a match, they might be the only match that exists for a patient in the entire world, therefore the only one that can give them hope for survival.”
Though Ray is looking forward to this opportunity, she said she knows it will be a challenge because of common misconceptions people may have.
“Trying to find people who are 100 percent committed has and always will be a difficult task,” she said. “What everyone needs to realize is that 90 percent of people can donate marrow by doing a new procedure that is equivalent to donating plasma. There is hardly any pain and no recuperation time is needed.”
Last semester, Ray and Stephan raised $600 in order to have the drive be free on campus.
“Joining the marrow registry may be the easiest way to save a person’s life,” Ray said. “With ten minutes, a simple health history, and a cheek swab, a Bradley student could have a profound impact on someone’s life.”
Be The Match will take place from noon to five on Nov. 8, 9 and 10 in the Markin Center.