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Marrow Drive Planned

New Effort To Build on Success of First Drive

By Sonali Mukherjee
STAFF REPORTER

Many members of the MIT community will remember the success of the first bone marrow drive last November, aided by a rally which brought to the community’s attention the plight of leukemia patient David X. Li ’02 as well as other minority cancer patients around the world.

The results of that drive were high above expectations. Altogether, 463 people entered the bone marrow registry: 317 of Asian descent, 96 other minorities, and 50 Caucasians. Unofficially, this is the largest single day bone marrow drive ever to occur at any college or university campus.

Because of the success of the first drive, and because many people were turned away due to an excess of donors, another drive will be held to register the people who had been turned away before as well as to attract more potential donors.

This second drive will be held on Friday, February 25, 2000 in the Bush Room (10-105). This is the same location that the last drive was held, as Yuval Mazor ’02, one of the head organizers of the event notes. “We don’t know how many people were turned away, but the lines were out the door of the Bush Room for a good part of the day,” Mazor said.

This was one of the main reasons why another drive needs to be held: Mazor felt it was unfair that so many willing people had been willing to donate and their help had been reluctantly refused. Much like the previous drive, this effort has the funding to register 10 percent of the total donors as Caucasians.

In general, the guidelines for the last bone marrow drive still apply. It is requested that all participants in the drive be between the ages of 18 and 60, be at least 100 pounds and in good health, and have had no tattooing performed on them within the last year. For the drive, one must donate two tablespoons of blood and sign a donor consent form. The blood obtained at the drive will be used merely as the basis for a preliminary match. Only if that match gives indications of being compatible with a specific leukemia patient will more blood testing be needed to decide if the donor is a precise match.

Once a precise match is confirmed, the donor is informed about all the steps of the process, which include an extraction of marrow from the donor’s hip. The donor is also at liberty to refuse to continue the process at any point, because the entire donation process is completely anonymous in relation to the patients.

Only until one year after the actual transplant will the donor and the recipient be allowed to make contact. Therefore, it is not known at this time whether anyone who participated in the last drive has been confirmed as a bone marrow match for any leukemia patient.

Previous donors are requested not to donate again. The best way that they can help is to encourage their friends who have not participated in a bone marrow drive to date to register at the next one. Although he himself has not found a donor yet, David Li is reportedly in high spirits and very excited about the excellent turnout of the last drive. He wishes to convey his thanks to everyone and hopes they will participate in the upcoming drive. More information about the drive can be obtained at <http://web.mit.edu/marrow/www/>.