Science/Medicine
3:32 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

University of Michigan students holding bone marrow registry drive tomorrow

University of Michigan students are harnessing the power of Facebook to promote a bone marrow registry drive to take place tomorrow at the Michigan Union.

A Michigan student who recently became ill with a severe bone marrow disease could potentially find the bone marrow donor he needs at tomorrow’s event.

Daniel Lee, a junior at the University of Michigan was diagnosed with aplastic anemia just over a month ago. His condition means his bone marrow no longer produces enough blood cells and he needs an emergency bone marrow transplant.

University of Michigan junior, Jessica Kaltz began planning the bone marrow drive several months ago. She organized the event in partnership with her sorority, Sigma Kappa, and DKMS, a non-profit organization that recruits bone marrow donors.

Kaltz, who says she was unaware one of her classmates might benefit when she came up with the idea, says, “It’s amazing to see how many people care when you put a face to the cause.”

At tomorrow’s bone marrow registry drive, Kaltz says, "All people need to do is have their cheek swabbed with a cue tip and fill out a form to see if they are a match for anyone in need of a transplant."

Alli Wexler, a close friend of Lee says she and her friends were planning to hold their own bone marrow drive to help their friend before they heard about the drive organized by Kaltz.

Wexler began to promote tomorrow’s event and she and her friends used their contacts on Facebook, as well as various email list-serves to spread the word.

Wexler says they've been trying to reach out to the Korean community as well. Daniel Lee is Korean and there is a greater chance of finding a donor match within the same race.

So far over 1,000 people have indicated that they will be attending the bone marrow registry drive tomorrow on the Facebook event page.

“People seem to be responding really well to the idea,” says Wexler, who hopes that this can help her friend as well as many other people in need of a bone marrow transplant.

- Nell Gable, Michigan Radio Newsroom