A student group at Oklahoma Christian University is rallying members of the community to put an end to blood cancer.
The Eagles Health Initiative organization will host a “Delete Blood Cancer” event Thursday through Saturday. People can come be swabbed to see if they can help someone in need of a bone marrow transplant or blood transfusion.
Earl Young, a 1960 gold medalist sprinter who is a leukemia survivor, will speak in OC’s Chapel service Thursday to share the importance of bone marrow donation.
“Every three minutes, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with blood cancer,” said India Loyd, Eagles Health Initiative member and organizer of the event. “These diseases, such as leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma, are often treated with bone marrow transplants. However, each patient must find a donor that closely matches certain genetic markers in order for the transplant to be successful.”
On Thursday, swabbing stations will be in OC’s residence halls throughout the day. Friday stations will be set up in the Gaylord University Center after Chapel. Swabbing will be available to all members of the community Saturday during OC’s “Choose Your K” event.
Delete Blood Cancer is a nonprofit organization that registers potential donors for the national bone marrow registry. Jeff McCormack, dean of OC’s College of Natural and Health Sciences, said simply being registered as a bone marrow donor is a powerful way to serve.
“So many of us never have the opportunity to try to help someone in a significant way,” McCormack said. “When you think about serving, there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life. Although you are not laying down your life, you are giving of yourself to save someone else’s life.”
Eagles Health Initiative president Jackson Higginbottom said the Delete Blood Cancer event is a great fit because EHI is a new student group dedicated to raising awareness about mental, physical and spiritual health.
“EHI brings together multiple disciplines in the sciences and various other majors across campus,” Higginbottom said. “Everyone should at least know the basics of health, even if that is not the area you are looking at for a career.”
So far, EHI has hosted events and forums about various health-related issues, including stress and anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.