Thursday, September 18, 2014

USNA Mids Swab to Save Lives

The U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) hosted a bone marrow registry drive Sept. 18, collecting 2,014 new registrations into the C.W. Bill Young DoD Marrow Donor Program.

Midshipmen from the Medical STEM extracurricular activity organized the bone marrow drive on campus with the assistance of the Midshipman Action Group.

Midshipmen, staff, faculty and family members volunteered to enter their DNA, collected from a cotton Q-tip cheek swab, into the National Marrow Donor Registry so to be available as a potential match for someone in need of a life-saving transplant. Within the first hour, there were approximately 1,250 new registrations in the program.

"This bone marrow registry drive is yet another example of the great things midshipmen do," said Cmdr. John Schofield, USNA public affairs officer, a registrant in the program and former bone marrow donor. "This entire effort was conceived and run by them. It is a testament to their caring and dedication. As a former bone marrow donor, I truly hope we get as many people as possible into the registry. It makes a difference."

The swab samples are sent to the C.W. Bill Young Donor Center in Rockville, Maryland, for testing and registration. It is here that the DNA information is coded and stored in the Defense Department and National Marrow Donor Program registries.

"We set up a good cause but on a deeper level we provided an emotional movement for the Brigade which was evident in our success," said Midshipman 1st Class Riley Miller.

The 2,014 entries into the registry set a USNA record for most collections in a single day.

"As leaders of true character and positive impact, midshipmen imagine great outcomes for those in need and they execute bold plans to achieve a better future for their communities; so too today with the Brigade-wide C.W. Bill Young DOD Bone Marrow Drive," said Miriam Stanicic, USNA community relations director. "Being excellent is innate to the Brigade, as witnessed by the very high number of donor samples collected in just one day."

The C.W. Bill Young DoD Marrow Donor Center, has been in operation since 1991 and works exclusively with military personnel and their dependents, DoD civilian employees, Reservists, and Coast Guard and National Guard members to facilitate marrow and stem cell donations.

According to the center, more than 12,000 people are diagnosed each year with diseases that require an infusion of stem cells. More than 70 percent of blood cancer patients are unable to find an appropriate match within their own family and will require an unrelated donor.

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