STORY BY SARAH GROSSMAN
Drake University has many students active in philanthropy. Currently, students within various organizations: the National Community Pharmacists Association, Sigma Chi, Drake Secular Legal Society and Phi Delta Chi, are planning an event to test students on their ability to donate bone marrow.
“This is just a cotton swab to determine if you’re eligible or not,” said Stephanie Tesch, P3 pharmacy student.
Speakers, Colleen Reardon, MBA and Donor Services program Manager along with Jen Witt, RN and Care Coordinator at the John Stoddard Cancer Center at Unity Point, will speak on the event in Harvey-Ingham 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. Oct. 30. The bone marrow registry will take place 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 31 in the Olmsted breezeway and on Pomerantz Stage.
“It’s something that we are trying to get campus involved in … it’s awesome to be able to do that for someone else,” Tesch said.
Bone marrow, a necessity to live, supports blood cell function and helps strengthen the immune system through lymphocyte creation.
Elena Dietz, sophomore international business and marketing double major, donated almost seven weeks ago and suggests that students do the same.
“I signed up to be on the registry last November, and I kind of did because I thought it was the right thing to do,” Dietz said.
David Book a P3 pharmacy major is helping to plan this event. He is active in NCPA, the National Community Pharmacists Association.
“This year we sort of jumped the gun on it, and we wanted to make it a campus wide event. I started learning more about bone marrow donations in general,” Book said. “I really thought it would be a great event to put together for campus as it is life altering and something that people need help with. It is life saving.”
Dietz described the process from her own experience.
“They give you medicine before hand. It’s so easy that it just blows my mind that people think it’s this hard thing,” Dietz said. “Even for me, I went through an actual surgery. It was super easy. Not painful at all. It was awesome and the people are so nice.”
Along with receiving full compensation for gas, prescriptions, parking, meals and hotel, Dietz said her experience was a good one.
“I was super cold in the hospital, and four nurses come in with heated blankets. They take good care of you,” Dietz said.
A year from the day she contributed, Dietz will be able to meet the baby boy she donated to along with his family if both Dietz and the family consent.
She is so happy to have been a part of bone marrow donation.
“This is going to sound so cheesy, but this has probably been one of the best experiences of my life,” Dietz said. “Even though I don’t know this little guy, I worry about him every day. To love somebody that you don’t even know is just incredible.”
Book had his own closing statement and hopes that students come to the event.
“I can’t beat that, but I just hope we get a lot of participants because it has the potential to save lives … You never know who is going to be that perfect match,” Book said. “It doesn’t take a huge commitment, but it can make a very large difference.”