UTRGV Brownsville continues lifesaving marrow registry drive
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Brownsville students can join the fight to save a life by signing up for the marrow donor registry at the Be the Cure on Campus yearlong drive from Oct. 1, 2018 to Sept. 30, 2019. GenCure, a subsidiary of San Antonio nonprofit BioBridge Global, will have information tables at the Main Building, Student Union and University Library on Oct. 29-30 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
GenCure added 325 people to the Be The Match Registry at the Edinburg campus earlier this month. Last year, 295 UTRGV Brownsville students joined the registry, with a goal of adding 300 people to the registry for this campaign.
For patients like 7-year-old Leighton de la Rosa, adding 300 more people to the registry is a step toward finding a cure for her blood cancer. Leighton is fighting non-Hodgkin anaplastic lymphoma for the second time. Her cancer is more aggressive than before, and Leighton will need a bone marrow transplant. She is still awaiting a match.
“If it was your child, wouldn’t you want someone to potentially help your baby live?” said Amanda de la Rosa, Leighton’s mother. “You think it could never happen to you. Then it happens.”
Be the Cure on Campus is an effort to register individuals ages 18-44 to the national marrow donor registry and find lifesaving bone marrow or stem cell transplants for patients with blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma.
Each year, 14,000 blood cancer patients like Leighton are in need of a marrow or stem cell transplant. Because a patient is more likely to match someone from their own race or ethnicity, students of diverse ethnic backgrounds are especially encouraged to join the registry. The more people who join the registry, the higher a chance for patients to find a match.
The American Medical Student Association, Biomedical Science Association, Global Citizen, Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity and Kappa Delta Chi Sorority will be volunteering at information booths at the Main Building, Student Union, and Library.
To join the registry, donors must be:
- between the ages of 18 and 44
- in general good health
- willing and available to donate to any patient in need, until age 61
- able to keep their contact information current
Students can start the sign-up process by texting UTRGV to 61474 to receive a link to an online registration form. Once the form is complete, a cheek swab kit will be mailed to the student. All he or she has to do is follow the directions in the kit and return the cheek swabs in the mail to complete the registration.