Upstate students add their names to bone marrow registry

SUNY Upstate Medical Be The Match drive

Delia Vahey, a second-year medical student at Upstate, collects cheek cells with a swab at Thursday's Be The Match registration drive in the Setnor Academic Building. Be The Match finds potential bone marrow donors for patients who need a transplant. Photo by William Mueller.

Delia Vahey, a second-year medical student, was one of a dozen Upstate students who signed on with the “Be The Match” national bone marrow donation registry Thursday in the Setnor Academic Building.

“I wanted to do it,” Delia said as she filled out the registration form. “If you can help someone, why not do it? There are plenty of people who need it.”

According to BeTheMatch.org, 70 percent of patients who need a marrow transplant don’t have a matching donor in their family. That translates to 12,000 patients every year whose only hope for a cure is a transplant from someone outside their own family. The need is especially great among non-Caucasians.

CNY Central recently aired a story about a 14-year-old patient at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital who is in need of a bone marrow transplant. One of about every 540 members of the national registry actually are selected to donate.

Thursday’s drive, sponsored by Upstate’s Division of Student Affairs, also drew another dozen or so community members who signed up as potential donors.
SUNY Upstate Medical University bone marrow drive

Alvin Roberts of Upstate's Division of Student Affairs explains the registration process for Be The Match to medical student Delia Vahey. Photo by William Mueller.

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