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Howard hosts donor search

Rowling, Jen | Thursday, April 22, 2004

Howard Hall’s fourth annual Bone Marrow Drive will take place today on the first floor of LaFortune from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. All members of the Notre Dame community are encouraged to participate and register their bone marrow on the national registry, organizers said.

Howard Hall’s fourth annual Bone Marrow Drive will take place today on the first floor of LaFortune from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. All members of the Notre Dame community are encouraged to participate and register their bone marrow on the national registry, organizers said.

Four years ago, Zham Hall began the bone marrow drive for Conner Murphy, a Notre Dame student in need of a bone marrow transplant. Howard Hall continued the drive in hopes of finding a donor for the father of recent Notre Dame graduate Anne Gurucharri.

This year’s Bone Marrow Drive remains in honor of Gurucaharri’s father. Although Gurucharri’s father has since passed away, the bone marrow transplant he received extended his life and allowed him to see Anne graduate from Notre Dame last spring.

Diseases such as Leukemia, Hotchkins and A. Plastic Anemia are examples of life-threatening illnesses that often require a bone marrow transplant. Today Life Source, a bone marrow drive group from Chicago, will take contact information and a basic blood sample from participants. Then, each individual’s bone marrow type will be placed into the national registry. The entire process should take approximately 30 minutes, organizers said.

The bone marrow blood test checks for four out of six basic antigens. If these antigens match with the patient in need, further testing occurs. In order for a transplant to be administered all six antigens must match.

Over the past two years, 700-800 participants have had initial matches. When further screening was completed, two exact matches occurred. One of these matches resulted in a bone marrow transplant, while the second is in the final stages. This year Howard said that they’re hoping to have between 500 and 700 people register their bone marrow.

“The main thing is we are not just going for numbers, we want committed donors,” said Camilla Pollock, commissioner for the drive.

Individuals are more likely to find compatibility with those who share the same ethnicity or race.

“We are in need of minority donors, a person has a better chance within their race and own ethnicity,” Pollock said.

She also addressed the misconception that many individuals do not survive a bone marrow transplant.

“Many do go on to live healthy lives, do not be disillusioned,” she said.

Dana Daniels is a prime example of a bone marrow transplant survivor. In June 1993 Daniels was diagnosed with Non-Hotchkins Lym-phoma and battled the disease for three years undergoing countless radiation sessions and chemotherapy treatments. He drifted in and out of remission. On Sept. 18, 1996, Daniels had a successful bone marrow transplant.

Daniels had 222 perfect matches for his bone marrow transplant. The second highest number of matches Indiana University had ever witnessed. He had a 50/50 chance of surviving the transplant, followed by a 50/50 chance of surviving the first year.

Daniels battle is one of success.

“I am considered cured, it has been eight years now,” he said.