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Dorm holds successful marrow registry

Katie Peralta | Friday, April 11, 2008

Howard Hall exceeded its goal of collecting 300 donors in its signature Bone Marrow Registry Thursday in the Dooley Room of LaFortune Student Center.

Scheduled to last from noon until 8 p.m., event organizers were encouraged during the first 40 minutes of the event as they registered 60 donors.

When the event was finished, the event had registered 375 people, topping the initial expectation, according to sophomore Emily Stewart, event co-chair.

“You really underestimate how willing people are to donate,” said sophomore Eleanor Trousdale, another one of the event’s co-chairs.

The event entered volunteers into the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), which keeps records of and contacts its registrants when a cancer patient with matched DNA needs a transplant, according to NMDP’s website.

The registration process consisted of students first filling out paperwork with their contact information and then swabbing the inside of their cheeks to obtain a DNA sample.

In the case of a DNA match, the donor would be contacted to donate marrow.

“If you’re called, you could save a life,” Stewart said.

The last 75 students to register only filled out the paperwork, since other supplies had run out.

“We will have the swab kits mailed to them,” Stewart said.

According to Stewart, about 30 or 40 Howard residents volunteered to help with the event.

“We also had assistant rectors and our [hall] president help,” Stewart said.

The event welcomed donors with music, a free T-shirt and free soda and food.

“[Notre Dame Vice President of Student Affairs] Father [Mark] Poorman gave us a generous grant,” Stewart said. “We were really grateful for his support.”

Event organizers initially were apprehensive about expectations for the registry.

“We were a little concerned because there was also another bone marrow donation registry last week,” Trousdale said, referring to the registry held by the Minority Pre-Med Society last Friday.

The event, Stewert said, began as Howard’s signature event a few years ago when one resident’s father needed a bone marrow transplant. The event now is held every other year.

The first year, Stewart said, the registry did not see the success it did this year. Two years ago, only 45 students registered, Stewart said.

“We are just thrilled [with the success],” Stewart said.