After learning about someone in her community suffering from a rare blood disease, Stephanie Levy became passionate about educating her peers on the benefits of getting cheeks swabbed for the bone marrow donor registry.
Last month, with the help of the Be The Match Organization, Levy tabled in the quad and attempted to get as many students registered to be a donor as possible.
“As students we need to spread the word, especially on a campus that encourages people to speak their voice so freely,” said Levy, a business management major. “What we are doing here is not just getting people to understand what the bone marrow donor registry is about, but also understanding that you could be that person to save a life.”
Students lined up to learn more about becoming potential bone marrow donors, filled out paperwork and scraped the inside of their cheeks with four cotton swabs to become officially registered. According to Be The Match’s website, “by joining the registry you are taking the first step to being the cure for patients with blood cancers like leukemia and other marrow diseases.”
Once registered, up until the age of 61, a donor is eligible to get a call for two different donation types: peripheral blood stem cells or bone marrow.
Emily Simons, immersive experiences associate for Hillel, recently received a call to donate stem cells and wanted to encourage others to register.
“It’s kind of conflicting where I feel very blessed that I’m able to do this but it’s also very sad that someone is going through this,” Simons said. “But I’m glad that I got the call because I knew that when I signed up I’d be willing to do it.”
Matthew Bryan Palma, who came across the table, was quick to register.
“If there’s someone in need, I go out of my way to see if there’s anything I can do to help them out,” Palma said.
Amber Firestone, the Be The Match representative who supported Levy in the drive, said she was very excited to come to SF State to spread the word.
“Anytime that we get the opportunity to be in front of young people that are really altruistic and willing to be giving of themselves is a good opportunity to us,” Firestone said. “I’m seeing this generation follow through more than others and that you guys really are taking that knowledge and that opportunity to change things in an impactful way.”
Kinesiology major, Mackenzie Morley, was excited to learn more about how she could help.
“I think it’s super cool because I would have never even thought to register if this wasn’t on campus, so I feel like this brings a wider community of people wanting to help,” Morley said.
Levy’s goal was to register 30 people, and she was just under her goal with a little over 20 registries.
“I definitely would love to have as many people come by, not just to donate, but to learn about what the process entails,” Levy said. “We will talk, you don’t have to do it, just talk. We are here for you.”