La. Tech hosts bone marrow drive

RUSTON, La. (KNOE) - Louisiana Tech is looking for bone marrow matches to that could save lives.

The Department of Health Informatics and Information Management partnered with DKMS to host a bone marrow drive. The goal is to find potential bone marrow or blood stem cell donors for patients with blood cancer and other blood diseases.

Qualified donors swabbed the inside of their mouths to collect DNA. The DNA will then be sent off for testing and will enter a national database to see if someone is a match.

Experts say finding a match is rare, but it can be a lifesaving treatment for blood cancer and 70 other diseases.

"I think a lot of people rely on family members to be the match and only about 30 percent of those are able to get family member matches. About 70 percent have to rely on donors," says HIIM department head Jan Fuller.

They say the pool to find a match is relatively small, so they’re encouraging people to get swabbed.

"There are about 14,000 people at any given point in time that needs a bone marrow transplant and unless there is a match within the system, they cannot have someone help to save their lives," explains HIIM professor Lauren Colvin.

"There are so many people out there who need so much help. Why not give just a little bit of your time?” Says La. Tech student Hannah Ward. Ward swabbed her mouth, hoping she can be a match for someone in need. “You might not get picked, but if you do, I mean, saving a life, what better thing to do in the world than to do that?"

One Louisiana Tech student was a match and donated bone marrow because of last year's drive, and the university says it hopes to find more matches this year. They say 150 students registered this year.