GenCure hosts fourth annual “Team Tony” marrow registry drive at UIW

UIW’s registry drive honors deceased SAPD officer Anthony Barasa by finding matches for blood cancer patients
October 23, 2018

GenCure, a subsidiary of BioBridge Global, will once again partner with the University of the Incarnate Word for the fourth annual “Team Tony” marrow donor registry drive on Oct. 23-25 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. outside of the Wellness Center. Hosted by GenCure and UIW’s Pre-Pharmacy Association (PPA), the goal of the drive is to add 300 people to the Be the Match Registry.

The first UIW Team Tony drive was held in 2013 in honor of SAPD officer Anthony “Tony” Barasa. He was unable to find a marrow match and passed away in 2014 from acute myeloid leukemia. The UIW PPA and GenCure now carry on his memory and mission of raising awareness for the need for committed marrow donors.

“Every year, PPA works as part of Team Tony, in memory of San Antonio police officer Tony Barasa, who succumbed to illness without receiving lifesaving marrow,” said Viana Salinas, PPA vice president. “Honoring Tony, all PPA members contribute time between classes, working the drive over a three-day period. As future health professionals, we strive to make a difference in this community. We want to help those in need and feel it is part of our moral duty to save lives.”

Though there are more than 10.5 million potential donors on the marrow registry, only 1 in 430 people will actually donate. GenCure partners with Be the Match to find lifesaving stem cell and bone marrow transplants for patients with leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood diseases. Because a patient is more likely to match someone from their own race or ethnicity, students from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds are especially encouraged to join the registry. The more people who join the registry, the higher the chance for patients to find a match.

This year alone, five UIW students and alumni have donated to patients in need of a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood diseases.

Signing up for the marrow donor registry is the first step to be the cure for someone in need. Text Cure111 to 61474 to start the registration process.

To join the registry, potential donors must be:

  • Be between the ages of 18 and 44
  • Meet certain health requirements
  • Be willing and available to donate to any patient in need, until age 61
  • Pledge to keep their contact information current