On Tuesday, Georgia Military College held a donor registry event called “BetheMatch” for VSU student Michele Siegrist and other people needing bone marrow transplants around the country in order to help in their battle with leukemia.
The event was held from 9 a.m to 7 p.m and was deemed successful as over 250 people throughout the community registered to become a bone marrow donor, according to organizer Traci Reeves.
“We were truly blessed today, we had a goal to reach by 12 o’clock of 100 and we reached it by 11:40 this morning,” Reeves said. “We then raised our goal to 225 and by 6:30 we had 250 donors to also exceed our second goal.”
“It’s been a great turn out and I was surprised we kept exceeding our goals today,” Siegrist said.
Donor registry was fairly simple and a relatively quick process to complete.
At the first station, registrants were asked to provide basic information and medical history in order to be eligible for signing up.
Secondly, if found eligible, potential donors had to complete a donor registry card and agree to stay on the registry list until age 61.
Finally, two cotton swabs were taken from each cheek and collected for analysis, which completed the process.
Multi-racial people were in high demand for this event. Michele, who is of Caucasian and Korean descent, stressed the importance of donor diversity.
“We need more multi-racial people to join the registry,” Siegrist said. “Being half white and half Korean, it’s so hard to find a match and there are a lot of people like me out there who need a match. So many multi-racial people would join, but they don’t know the great demand for it.”
A wide arrange of people showed up to diversify the type of donor needed.
“We have seen people of many origins come through here,” Reeves said. “People from VSU, GMC, local business people, and church people—mostly from Morningside Baptist Church where Michele attends.”
Raffle tickets for prizes were on sale for $1 and t-shirts were sold for $10. Jewelry was also sold on behalf of Michele and 30 percent of the proceeds at the event were donated to her in order to fund her treatment and travel for chemotherapy.
Siegrist was appreciative of efforts to not only help her, but to help all patients in need of bone marrow transplants.
“My ultimate goal is to bring awareness,” Siegrist said. “Even if I don’t find a match, someone out there will.”