This past week, students had the opportunity to potentially save lives with the Alpha Phi Omega Blood Drive/Bone Marrow Registry. It’s not an unusual site to see around campus, as the service fraternity hosts a blood drive twice a semester. Located this past week in Waxahachie, APO was there Wednesday to Friday.
This week, APO added a twist to the event with a themed ad campaign to draw in more participants.
“This semester we’re doing super heroes,” said Abby Geary, the APO project head. participants were encouraged to dress up in costumes on Wednesday, and all their flyers and posters were aptly decorated.
In the past, the blood drive has been held in Mabee, but since the changes that occurred over the past few years, they’ve begun hosting it in other venues. The change to a less trafficked location has put a dent in the number of donors seen at the drive. Last year, Geary says they only had 90 donors in their new location.
“When we were in Mabee, we would get that many on a Friday,” Geary said.
“I think donating blood is important because it’s one of the easiest ways you can help someone out or give back. Joining the bone marrow registry is important because it can be hard to find a specific match for patients that need a transplant,” said Maddie Winchester, a sophomore APO member.
Students who visit the drive and sign up for the registry were handed a pamphlet to dispel any incorrect assumptions about the process, saying “if a blood sample is requested to join the registry, you should know there is minimal risk associated with the blood draw.”
“There are people who search every day and can’t find a match, we’re just trying to expand that registry,” Geary said.
A common misconception about bone marrow donations is that they are extremely painful or uncomfortable. However, most bone marrow transplants can be done with a simple blood donation. Also, there are less restrictions on bone marrow transplants than blood donations, so people who can’t give blood can possible give marrow.
Geary talked about the importance of expanding the registry because of how small it is. It is extremely difficult for patients in need to find a match, and being a donor will save their life. After filling out a short form, a mouth swab is taken and the new member of the registry is sent on their way. It’s even more difficult looking for a match outside of your own ethnic group, so donors from minorities are especially encouraged.
“If you have found that you can’t give blood, you should definitely try to register,” Geary said.
Students who are curious about the process can either get in contact with APO or visit marrow.org.