Every year, more than 20,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases where a bone marrow transplant is their best treatment option.
According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, only 30% of these patients have a relative who matches their tissue type and is able to donate. The other approximately 14,000 patients need to find a stranger who is a good match.
For this reason, there is a National Bone Marrow Registry, which serves to match patients with potential donors.
On Jan. 24 and 25, the Mines chapter of Sigma Kappa held the Bone Marrow Registry Drive to encourage faculty and students to join the registry. In just two days, 253 people were added.
This event is held to honor the life of a Mines’ Sigma Kappa alumna, Jennifer Rotramel-Ronhovde, who graduated in 2008.
“Jennifer was diagnosed with leukemia in 2011. After an unsuccessful transplant, she passed away,” Kacey Bennett, Sigma Kappa’s former president explained. “However, with this transplant, she got to spend more time with her family than she otherwise would have had.”
The stem cell donor provided Jennifer with an additional 10 months of life.
Sigma Kappa’s Bone Marrow Registry Drive is an annual event. Despite the short amount of time that this event has been held, it has already made a huge impact.
“Since we started doing the Bone Marrow Registry Drive four years ago, we’ve had two of our sorority sisters become a match, and have donated cells for transplant,” Bennett said. “We have heard of other Mines students being a match, too.”
Joining the National Bone Marrow Registry takes only minutes and has the power to improve and save lives.
Sigma Kappa is helping people to join the registry in honor of Jennifer Rotramel-Ronhovde, a Mines graduate and a sister in their sorority.
There are other ways to get involved, however. If you missed this event, you can register online at dkms.org.