The Port Huron Campus of Ross Medical Education Center recently had a visit from one of their most impactful guest speakers, Caitlin Regan from Be the Match, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program. Caitlin’s passion and her stories always inspire many of the students and staff members to join the national registry in hopes that they may be able to help someone in need.
For the thousands of people who face life-threatening blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma each year, there is hope that their disease may be cured through a bone marrow transplant. Of these patients, only 30% will find a fully matched donor within their family, and that’s where Be the Match comes in. They help match patients with unrelated donors, then they stand by for support and assistance through the entire process. For over 25 years, Be the Match has been the leader in worldwide, unrelated bone marrow transplantation. They currently have 13.5 million volunteers in their registry waiting to become donors. Be the Match has facilitated over 74,000 bone marrow or cord blood transfers – that’s about 6,400 each year!
The process to join the registry is quite simple. All it takes is a cheek swab and minimal paperwork. Of those joining, one in 40 will be called for additional testing. One in 300 will be named as the best possible match for a patient. Only one in 430 will actually make a bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation.
Caitlin took the time to speak with students in both the Medical Assistant program and Medical Insurance Billing and Office Administration program while she was at the Port Huron campus. As a result, several students eagerly joined the registry. Current Medical Assistant student, Andrew Taylor, signed up without hesitation. “This type of donation has no negative physical consequences for the donor. If you can help someone this way, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t do it,” Andrew said.
The Ross Medical Education campus in Port Huron looks forward to regular visits from Be the Match. This allows incoming students to have the opportunity to learn about this very important organization as well as the chance to help others in need. For more information about Be the Match or how to join the registry, you can visit them on Facebook or go to the website at bethematch.org.