Bone Marrow Drive


On March 14, willing residents of Ashland may spare a portion of their time to help cancer victims. Be the Match is holding a drive; searching for people ages eighteen and over who are willing to donate bone marrow to cancer patients in need of transplants.

Certain cancers, such as leukemia, breast and ovarian cancer, lymphomas like Hodgkin’s disease, and some types of tumors, may require bone marrow transplants. Bone marrow can be gathered from “matches,” donors with similar physiology to the victim.  Studies from the Colombia University Medical Center say that 70% of cancer patients in need of transplants cannot receive them as no matching donor can be found.

Be the Match is an organization dedicated to raising awareness for this little known procedure, and finding people willing to dedicate thirty hours of their life, along with a small portion of their marrow, to save some else’s life.The marrow can be taken from either the arm or the pelvic bones, but is usually harvested from the pelvis. The procedure involves the patient being put under a general anesthesia; the surgeon then takes approximately a quart of bone marrow out of the site by inserting a syringe into the “iliac crest,” an upper part of the pelvic bone usually referred to as the hip. A quart may appear to be a lot, but it only represents about 2% of the marrow in an average human body. The procedure is very safe, and involves minimal discomfort. After the procedure, the donor may feel some discomfort at the extraction location, often attributed to the feeling of a bruise on the hip from a fall.

Be the Match is holding a drive to find possible marrow donors with the help of a teacher at Ashland High. Two sophomores, Sarah Bestor and Ella Smith, have also joined to help raise awareness of the drive. They are also holding fundraisers with assistance from the school’s drama department. Theater members going to the state acting competition in April are holding a revival of last year’s play “And Then They Came for Me” and another short performance where a portion of funding will be contributed to the Be the Match organization. The theater shows will be on March 13, and April 1 and 2.

The drive itself was on March 14. Participants must be over 18. Upon participating in the drive, each person will have their cheek swabbed, and their information and DNA results put in the filing system. If a match is found, the person will be called, and asked to be a donor of bone marrow for a cancer victim in need.