Be the Match CU Chemistry Club welcomes Marcikus Long
By Brittney Payette
At 5:15 p.m. on Sept. 29 in the
Science Complex, guest speaker Marcikus Long spoke to Cameron’s Chemistry Club about the national registry Be the Match.
Be the Match helps match patients and donors for potentially life-saving blood stem cell transplants.
Blood stem cell transplants can treat over 70 diseases, including Leukemia, Lymphoma and Sickled Cell Anemia.
Doctors generally start looking for donor matches within a person’s family. There is only a one in four chance of matching a patient to their siblings, and 70 percent of patients who need a transplant do not have a matching donor in their family.
Only 50 percent of perspective donors actually agree to donating, and the other 50 percent are either unavailable or decline to donate.
Long emphasized the importance of joining the registry and following through with the commitment.
“We are in the business of helping people,” Long said. “Your commitment makes all the difference.”
When a donor is matched to a patient, the donor receives three pieces of information: the patient’s gender, diagnosis and age.
In order to find the match, the potential donor sends a swab of their mouth, which gives the organization their tissue type.
Doctors then try to match a patient’s Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) with a donor’s HLA type.
HLAs are proteins that are found in the majority of cells in the human body. The best donor-patient matches are the ones that have the closest HLA type.
Having a donor that matches the patient makes it more likely that the transplant will successfully help treat the blood disease.
Generally, doctors try to match between eight and ten HLA markers.
Lyndey Ferguson worked with Long to set up the event and has been a member of the registry for two years. She learned about the registry when she attended Joliet Junior College in Illinois.
“I filled out an online form to join Be the Match, and Marcikus and I set the event up,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson recommends others joining the registry because it could help save someone’s life.
For more information about Be the Match, visit their website at www.bethematch.org.