Be the Match, KRIV 26 register donors to save child
KRIV-26’s Sally McDonald was at the UC Friday morning, broadcasting live about the fight to save a little boy.
Five-year-old Cline is in search of a bone marrow donor; unfortunately, no match was found on the registry list of 11 million people. The family of Cline reached out to the station, and the station reached out the UH.
Senior Media Relations Specialist Marisa Ramirez contacted the campus chapter of the national organization Be the Match, and informed them of the local station wanting to hold a drive for Cline; Cline is also a high profile client for Be the Match.
The registry process consists of four cheek swabs — one for each corner of the mouth — and filling out a form.
The test is to match DNA and HLA antigens; everyone has five antigens from the mother and five from the father. With the cheek swab for DNA, doctors are able to see if there’s a possible match of all ten.
Results can take anywhere from weeks to years.
“That’s how long it takes for a match to come in,” said Mark Matthews, the community engagement representive of the Be the Match program.
“You can be on a registry for a long time. That’s why they (have looked) through 11 million, and haven’t found one yet.”
Large registries are a necessity for those who suffer from rare blood disorders, because it’s more difficult for them to find a matching donors.
“With rare blood disorders, we want to get someone who could possibly be a match as soon as possible, because that’s the difference between saving his life and him suffering,” Matthews said. “And that’s something we definitely don’t want.”
Matthews also adds that characteristics of a donor can be passed on to the patient, such as food allergies or heart disease.
“If I’m allergic to cats and I’m given a bone marrow transplant, there’s a 9 out of 10 chance that person that I’m giving the transplant to is going to be allergic to cats,” Matthews said.
Psychology freshman Jolene Sadoun was unable to donate but expressed her desire to give in some way.
“Whenever I do donations, like blood donations, I tend to have seizures,” Sadoun said. “But I want to get involved as much as I can and find other ways to help.”
Fridays are usually the organization’s hardest days to sign people up, due to the limited student attendance. They had 15 to 20 people sign up on Friday due to the presence of KRIV-26.
Those wanting to sign up must be between the ages of 18 to 44, in good health standing, and in a good weight range according to their body mass index.
“I think that we kind of take our health for granted,” Sadoun said. “There are people who are not as fortunate as us. If there’s anyway we can help, why not do it? Why not get that moral boost or just do the right thing? To help someone else?”
Be the Match’s goal is to raise money as well as sign people up to the registry. Its fundraising goal is $5,000; for the registry, the goal is signing up 200 people. For more information on the donor process or to donate, visit facebook.com/bethematchUH.