You have the power to save a life, so why not?
Ellen Wargowski, a University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point sophomore, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia when she was just three years old. She went through chemotherapy and radiation and was lucky to survive. However, she relapsed when she was six years old and eventually needed a bone marrow transplant to save her life. Luckily enough, her older sister was a good match, and Ellen was able to receive the transplant.
Many people looking for a bone marrow transplant aren’t as lucky as Wargowski, and often rely on finding a donor in the Be The Match Registry. The more people that join the registry, the chances of them finding a donor increases.
"Ever since I began to realize how lucky I am to have survived, I have been very passionate about wanting to give back and make a difference in the lives of other cancer patients," Wargowski said.
The Dreyfus University Center will be holding a bone marrow drive for the Be The Match Registry on Thursday, April 5, and Friday, April 6, at 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. To join, you must be within the ages of 18 and 60 and willing to donate to a patient of any need.
When registering, a health questionnaire must be completed to make sure you meet the medical guidelines. These protect your health as a potential donor, as well as the health of transplant patients.
Doctors search the Be The Match Registry to find donors for their patients. Once you’ve joined, Be The Match will contact you if a doctor selects you as a match for a patient in need of a transplant.
"You might not get a call to donate immediately. It could be a couple years, a decade, or even longer, but being in the registry will give someone hope and maybe even another chance at life," said Cody Much, a senior Biochemistry major and the Treasurer of the PreMed and Allied Health Society.
Throughout the weeks leading up to the drive, PMAHS will be selling raffle tickets for prizes that local businesses have donated in the DUC to help raise money for the Be The Match Foundation. Tickets are a dollar a piece or six for $5.00.
The process of actually getting into the registry is very quick and painless. All it takes is a few mouth swabs and some paper work.
"A lot of people think it involves needles and pain when actually it is just a few swabs of the mouth, and that is seriously it," Much said.
As a cancer survivor, Wargowski is unable to be on the registry but remains involved in the bone marrow drive to make a difference in the world of cancer.
"Ellen ended up finding us last semester and was curious about helping out. This semester she agreed to help us promote the drive with her touching story," Much said.
Today Wargowski is fully recovered and healthy, while spreading the word about the Bone Marrow Registry to help those whose lives depend on a bone marrow transplant. For them, finding a match depends entirely on the number of people who have generously agreed to join the Registry.
"I was given a second chance at life, and I wish that others who are fighting for their lives could be given that same opportunity. What if a patient’s match was out there somewhere, and not on the registry? They would have no way of knowing that there is someone who could help," Wargowski said.
By joining the registry you could be the match a patient needs. You could be the person to make this treatment possible. You could give them hope.