By: Deasha Bent
On Feb. 22, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the University of Commons, The Student Nurses Association hosted a Bone Marrow Drive. The goal of the SNA, overall, is all about helping the community and those in need. SNA is an organization of Sacred Heart University student nurses, they enjoy their time being a member while helping out others, like sophomore Michaela Viera.
“It’s a lot of fun. It’s very rewarding because we have a lot of opportunities such as the bone marrow drive and we are able to help out,” said Viera.
In 2018, the SNA hosted a bone marrow drive and successfully found a match for a fellow Sacred Heart alumnus, Michael Limosani’s father.
“Last year, we were approached by one of our alumni, who was a bone marrow participant. That’s how it really became important to us,” said Dr. Eileen Yost, Clinical Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing.
Volunteer chair sophomore Courtney Ebert said that getting the word out and advertising was going to be the greatest challenge.
“I knew that the event would take place, but I didn’t know what is was all about. So, having to advertise for the event was kind of a challenge for me,” said Ebert.
Last year, the SNA was able to collect swabs from 200 people and was able to find a donor that matched DNA with Limosani’s father.
Since then, the organization decided to work closely with the Deutsche Knochenmarkspenderdatei company or DKMS, which is a German donor program according to www.dkms.de/en/about-dkms.
According to the president of SNA, junior Erika Borras, this company created an opportunity for SNA that was helpful to the cause.
“Through this company, we were able to allow an alumnus of Sacred Heart to receive bone marrow,” said Borras.
While in 2018, the idea of the drive was to help an alumnus’s father, SNA decided to take the initiative and help more people listed in the bone marrow registry from DKMS.
“If you match with someone who is on the bone marrow recipient list, then that is who gets the bone marrow,” said Yost.
According to Borras, it is nothing like drawing blood. To find if you are a match, the procedure requires three swabs from the mouth, which are collected.
“You can just stop by for five minutes to come, just to swab your mouth. So, to donate bone marrow it’s a little different than donating blood. You’re not actually getting pricked or anything like that, it’s just a simple swab of the mouth,” said Borras. “They [SNA] take that mouth swab, you fill out information about yourself on a little iPad, and then your swab gets sent to the bone marrow registry.”
To learn if you are a match, the company will contact you via email or call.
“Later on, if they need you and if they find that your DNA is a match for somebody who needs a bone marrow, you’ll go through a procedure to donate,” said Borras.
A couple of students at the drive, like sophomore Julia Antonucci, have already registered to donate and are waiting to learn if they are a match for a person in need.
“I registered to donate because I think that it’s a really good cause and being personally touched by cancer and other blood cancers and disorders, it’s just important to be available to do it,” said Antonucci.