Coalition of Chronic Illness Hosts a Be the Match Drive
On the 17th of February, 2022, in our second semester of fully in-person post-zoom school, Southwestern University’s Coalition of Chronic Illness hosted a Be the Match drive for one of their members, Cami Eagle. In hosting this event, Eagle has helped SU in CCI’s larger mission of maintaining and improving patient access to care and visibility. This visible and immediate support for patients in need of bone marrow donors, especially of those that are students at this institution, has been a powerful moment for SU Pirates.
Advocacy is critically important to protect access and expand coverage for patients needing a life-saving stem cell transplant and in advocating for legislation and policies affecting patients with blood cancers and other blood disorders. Healthy marrow and blood cells are needed to live, and when the disease affects marrow so that it cannot function properly, a marrow or cord blood transplant can be the best treatment option or even the only potential cure. Seventy percent of patients do not have a fully matched donor in their family, so the more people that join the registry the greater the chance patients will find a match. I am happy to say that SU registered 152 people in one afternoon.
After the event, I asked Eagle a couple of questions, and they kindly reflected on the day’s event and wanted to give some advice to those who registered.
“I would encourage them to follow through and donate if they are a match at any point in their lives and to try to get others to sign up! Anyone 18-40 years old can order a free swab kit in the mail from bethematch.org at any time to join. I would also like to encourage everyone who is eligible to donate blood regularly – donating blood is also a great way to save lives,” Cami said.
For tips on smaller, everyday actions Cami had more advice to share.
“Support the disabled community by wearing a mask properly, physically distancing, and getting vaccinated! And follow suchronicillness on Instagram to keep up with SU’s Coalition of Chronic Illness,” they stated.
Cami went on to express how they felt at the end of a successful registering day.
“I can’t describe how grateful I am for everyone who helped out with the swab drive in any way,” Eagle said. “Today I was reminded of how strong and supportive the SU community is and I’m so proud to be a pirate!”This event encouraged so many people, including myself, in seeing themselves and others light up at the idea of registering when the access was right there alongside their peer and friend Eagle. Events like these happen because we students make them. Continue supporting your fellow peers by following CCI and other organizations on campus! An easy way to support other students is by checking out all of SU’s coalitions, organizations, Greek life, and student activities on Instagram. They are incredibly helpful in keeping in touch with other events like Be the Match! Go follow and keep a lookout for future drives on campus! If you have any more questions about Bone Marrow Transplants, visit https://bethematch.org/transplant-basics/.