A bone marrow registration drive was scheduled to take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, at Kansas City Kansas Community College, Jewell Building, 7250 State Ave., Kansas City, Kan.
A former college president has made it his mission to find bone marrow transplant matches for his four grandsons.
So far, John Murry, former president of Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kan., along with members of his extended family, have been a driving force behind 64 bone marrow registration drives that have resulted in 10,500 new registrations and 36 potential matches for bone marrow donors.
While a match had not yet been found for his grandsons, who live in the St. Louis area, Murry said he is continuing his efforts and is happy to be helping others. A match was found recently for his cousin’s co-worker in the Kansas City area who needs a bone marrow transplant, he added.
“It's pretty exciting to be in the business of saving lives,” he said earlier this week. “We’d sat around as a family so long not doing anything to help our grandsons, we didn't even know we could do this.”
His four grandsons have Diamond-Blackfan anemia, and the two oldest need bone marrow transplants, while the two youngest might need the transplants in the future. Bone marrow transplants are needed for conditions where the body is not making enough red blood cells. Those who have leukemia and blood cancers sometimes need bone marrow transplants.
Murry on Monday was getting ready for a scheduled bone marrow drive this week at Kansas City Kansas Community College.
“I think it’s terrific,” he said about KCKCC students and faculty planning to participate in the bone marrow registration drive. A faculty member there, a victim of leukemia, has helped with this event by sending out letters to fellow faculty members.
It’s very important to get college-age youths on the national bone marrow registry, he believes. If they get swabbed (a small, fast test swabbing the inside of the cheek), 18-year-olds can be on the list for 40 years and could be a potential match for victims in the future. An estimated 10,000 people are waiting for a bone marrow transplant match.
“So many people die every year,” Murry said.
No appointments are necessary for the test, and it does not take a long time, he added. Those who are participating must be between 18 and 55 and have no serious health problems that would prevent them from being a donor.
Murry has concentrated his efforts on signing up colleges for these tests, while some of his cousins have been holding bone marrow registry drives at churches. Donnelly College, Avila University and Rockhurst University held drives last fall. The next college bone marrow drive in Kansas is scheduled Feb.20 for the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth. Others may be scheduled in the future.
Murry’s daughter is currently trying to work with the high schools to hold bone marrow registry drives in the spring. The drives would be for seniors in high school who are already 18 years old.
For more information on when bone marrow drives are scheduled, visit the websites http://marrowformurrys.com/ or www.getswabbed.org.
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