posted November 11, 2013

Bone Marrow Registry Drive Scheduled for Nov. 14

The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Club at Hope College is joining with the Pikaart Family to host a “Be the Match” bone marrow registry event on Thursday Nov. 14, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the atrium of the A. Paul Schaap Science Center.

The process involves a cheek swab.  The goal is to identify those between the ages of 18 and 44 who could be life-saving matches for someone with a blood cancer, sickle cell, or other life-threatening disease.

Ben Pikaart, who had been diagnosed with leukemia, received a bone marrow transplant from his sister Karis in 2012. Ben was one of the 30 percent of patients that have a match within their family.  The other 70 percent of patients, however, must turn to the bone marrow registry in search for a match.

The Pikaart family is joining with BMB Club to host this event on the anniversary of Ben's diagnosis to add people to the registry.  Dr. Michael Pikaart is an associate professor of chemistry at Hope.

Young healthy adults, such as college students, are the ideal people to add to the registry since doctors choose people between the ages of 18 to 44 more than 90 percent of the time. Only one in approximately 540 people are contacted to donate blood marrow and over 80 percent of bone marrow donations are now done through a Peripheral Blood Stem Cell donation, which is a lot like donating platelets or doing a double red blood cell donation.

The event is open to faculty, staff, and students of Hope College and also to the community. There will be individuals present to answer any questions that people may have about the process.  Additional information is available at bethematch.org.

The A. Paul Schaap Science Center is located at 35 E. 12th St., at 12th Street and College Avenue.