Sorority to hold drives to save sister from cancer
The UH Iota chapter of alpha Kappa Delta Phi is holding bone marrow drives to save a sorority sister diagnosed with lymphoma, a type of cancer caused by uncontrolled multiplication of lymphocytes and one of the most common cancers in the U.S.
The Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results program, a subset of the National Cancer Institute, which collects information on cancer in the U.S., estimated that 79,030 Americans will be diagnosed with lymphoma by the end of 2013. Their research showed that 3.1 percent of those with lymphoma are diagnosed under the age of 20, and 7.2 percent are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 34.
From the international sorority, Nina Polvanich Louie is a mother of a two-year-old son and was diagnosed with stage four diffused large B-cell lymphoma in September 2012. She has only one month to find a bone marrow match.
“We are hosting bone marrow drives from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 15 at the University Center Satellite and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 20 at Café 101 on Bellaire,” said service chair and media production junior Jennifer Le. “We encourage everyone to come to our drives and help us find a match for Nina. She has touched our hearts and has inspired us and we want her to live the life she deserves with her wonderful family.”
After the recent aKDPhi international convention in May, chapters in various states including New York, Nevada, Hawaii, Florida, Massachusetts and California began to host drives to promote awareness and to find a match. Supporters recently held a drive in Thailand, and bone marrow typing drives will be hosted in Canada later this month.
“We have a Facebook event, ‘Save Nina,’ that’s constantly updated,” Le said. “If you’re unable to attend one of our drives, then we encourage you to do a take-home kit and send the match to the bone marrow center. We thank everyone who has been supportive and has given us the opportunity to help Nina.”
Louie relapsed in February. The cancer spread to her brain as she entered her 14th cycle of chemotherapy.
“Nina grew up in Texas, and the sorority chapters from Texas are incredibly strong when it comes to sisterhood and service, especially the UH chapter,” Le said. “Our sorority watches out for every sister, and it’s really important not to lose another sister.”
UH Pi chapter of the brother fraternity, Lambda Phi Epsilon, is co-hosting the drives.
“The cancer can be treated with chemotherapy, radioactive therapy or through a bone marrow transplant,” said former service chair and kinesiology junior Mark Tiu. “This drive is important because it brings awareness to diseases that can be stopped by bone marrow transplants. You can save a life just through a cheek swab.”
Be The Match Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center and Be The Match at UH are also involved in organizing and promoting the cause.