Everyone wants to be a hero. Here's your opportunity.
By registering to be a bone marrow donor with the Cammy Lee Leukemia Foundation tomorrow, you can give the greatest gift of all -- life.
The bone marrow recruitment drive, to be held in Newcomb Hall room 168B from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., is sponsored by Lambda Phi Epsilon, an Asian-American fraternity founded at the University last year.
"We're trying to help out the Asian community by recruiting Asian people in the University to register to be bone marrow donors," said Terry Hsiung, second-year Engineering student and Lambda Phi Epsilon's service chairman.
The fraternity's goal is to get as many students as possible to register with CLLF, a branch of the National Marrow Donor Program dedicated to increasing awareness of leukemia and other fatal blood diseases in the Asian community.
Hsiung added that the registration process is very simple.
"All you have to do is fill out a consent form and have a little blood taken," he said. "It's pretty much painless, and you'll be done in five minutes. You'll be contacted for further testing later if there is a match."
According to the CLLF homepage, only about 7 percent of the almost 4 million bone marrow donors registered with NMDB are Asian or Pacific Islander. Because bone marrow is hereditary, much like eye or hair color, patients typically find a match within their own ethnicity. Yet, the chance of an Asian leukemia patient finding a match is somewhere between one in 20,000 and one in a million.
"In order to have the best matches among Asian patients, we need donors that are Asian," Hsiung said.
If CLLF can match a leukemia patient with a registered donor, the donor will be contacted and undergo a simple procedure that extracts 5 percent of the donor's good stem cells. The stem cells regenerate in a few weeks, but the 5 percent that the donor gives can mean a 100 percent recovery for the patient.
Last year, the event was sponsored by the Office of the Dean of the Students, and Lambda Phi Epsilon only participated as an interest group.
"Now that we're a fraternity, we're trying to make this our annual philanthropy event," Hsiung said.
Hsiung, who registered last year with CLLF himself, said the group hopes to register between 50 and 60 students this year.
"What we're doing is saving lives," he said. "It's a simple act, but you can make a big difference in someone's life."