A three-day event is underway on the Fresno State campus for those wanting to donate blood and register for marrow donations.
On Tuesday, the on-campus blood donation and marrow registry drive, “Donate the Seeds of Life,” kicked off at the university’s Residence Dining Hall.
September is Blood Cancer Awareness month, and the university is creating awareness and raising donations by hosting the Central California Blood Center and Be The Match.
According to the American Society of Hematology, types of blood cancers include: lymphoma, leukemia and myeloma.
Jesus Perez, community outreach specialist for Be The Match, said he wants students to know that donating marrow is not as painful or difficult as one might imagine it to be.
“It’s 2016. You can keep your bone marrow in your hip. Essentially, 80 percent of our donations through the marrow registry occur through the bloodstream,” said Perez.
Diversity in donations is one of the program’s goals.
“Currently, the registry is dominated by Caucasians. They represent about 62 percent of 14 million donors that have registered with Be The Match. For the Hispanic population, we represent about 6-7 percent and percentages drop from there with our mixed or multiple-race donors. They represent about 5 percent of the registry and African-Americans fall right along that percentage,” Perez said.
He said the reason for the high percentage of Caucasian donors is because a majority of those with blood-related illnesses were Caucasian in the past. However, that has changed, according to Perez.
The benefit of coming to Fresno State’s campus, Perez says, is that students are more willing to hear about new programs and are more receptive to new technologies and procedures.
“Many of our cancer patients need the blood products. They undergo many different transfusions throughout their treatment,” Perez said. “So donating blood is very critical for our cancer patients.”
“When one donates stem cells or marrow, it can effectively cure the person of that blood disease. So when we say we call you when we need you is because patients are only in full search through Be The Match,” Perez said.
“If the chemotherapy, the radiation and the treatments that the doctor has in his bag do not work; at that point, the doctor informs the patient that 100 percent this disease will kill them unless they find a perfect match on the National Marrow Registry,” Perez said.
This event marks the university’s first blood drive and marrow registry of the 2016-2017 academic year.
The blood drive and marrow registry is going on Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m.
Bloodmobile locations are at the University Student Union and at the Maple Mall at the end of the Rose Garden.
Multiple bloodmobile locations will be set up so that students, faculty, staff and the public can donate and register efficiently.
All donors will receive a buy-one-get-one ticket to the Big Fresno Fair, a pint for pint Baskin Robbins voucher and a chance to win tickets to Blink 182 and Mana at the Save Mart Center.