Last Wednesday, Jesuit hosted its third annual “Be the Match” Bone Marrow Registry Donor Drive, in which potential bone marrow donors are found and connected to patients in need of a life-saving marrow transplant.
Be the Match compiles a database of potential donors of bone marrow to cancer patients. Each year at Jesuit, about 200 students volunteer to be potential donors. Students complete a short survey and provide a swab of their inner cheek cells, which is then sent away for a DNA analysis. If the blood antigens match cancer patients, the particular student gets notified.
Jesuit Principal Tom Garrison was able to save a cancer patient in Germany through this program, and he shared his personal experiences with Be the Match to the seniors who volunteered as potential donors. Mr. Garrison hopes that by sharing his personal experiences, it allows Jesuit students to learn that our bodies and health are blessings that can be lost at any time. He also stated that just about any act of service gives us the opportunity to use our bodies towards good ends, in turn inspiring us to serve others. After Mr. Garrison’s presentation, the seniors were then able to listen to a presentation by Dr. Rhonda Christiansen, and her experiences with the program.
Mr. Rich Perry, who played a significant role in starting this event, was particularly struck as the senior class listened to the presentations. He said that by actively listening to the personal experiences of others, such as Mr. Garrison and Dr. Christensen, it will further inspire the senior class to become “servant leaders” and take responsibility for each other. Events like this allow individuals to be formed into “men and women for and with others,” Mr. Perry added.
Last summer, two seniors were found to be matches and donated bone marrow to save two cancer patients.This event altogether exemplifies not only how this is a life-saving program, but also how it can form us into being “servant leaders” to one another.