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The UCF Challenge: Pledging to Save a Life

The UCF Challenge: Pledging to Save a Life

Throughout the month of April, fraternities, sororities and mentorship clubs at the University of Central Florida are challenging each other. Together with their brothers and sisters, they are pledging to “Save a Life” by joining the Be The Match bone marrow registry.

Background

The Icla da Silva Foundation is the largest recruitment center for the Be The Match Registry. We add potential stem cell donors to the registry. A stem cell transplant is the only cure for rare diseases like Sickle Cell, and blood cancers like Leukemia and Lymphoma.

The difficulty lies in finding a donor who ‘matches’ the genetic makeup of a patient.

The Diversity Challenge

A challenge for the registry is consistently maintaining an active network of committed donors. This is especially true for donors who are ethnically diverse. Blood cancer patients from every ethnic minority are under-represented on the national registry. There simply aren’t enough diverse donors included on the registry.

We are working to change this.

A White patient has a 77% chance of finding a matching donor on the registry. But Hispanic patients only have a 46% chance. Asians have a 41% chance and African American patients only have a 23% chance of finding a matching donor. This means that 3 out of 4 Black patients may not survive their disease because they can’t find a matching donor.

The COVID-19 Challenge

There are (3) requirements for joining the national registry. We need to assure that you are: (1) healthy, (2) aged between 18 – 44, and that you are (3) committed to saying ‘”yes” if you match a patient in need. Meeting all three requirements represents the greatest chance for a successful transplant.

Historically, we have recruited potential donors at ‘live’ drives. We held these drives at university campuses across the country because it represented the best chance at meeting all three requirements.

Since the onset of COVID-19, all live drives have been cancelled.

But lives are at stake. Patients are still searching for a donor. We cannot stop adding committed donors. As a result, our recruitment has gone social. We are using social media to educate potential donors and keep the registry active.

The UCF Challenge

The following organizations at the University of Central Florida (UCF) are challenging their members, and each other, to Pledge to Save a Life throughout the month of April…and we are grateful.

Delta Epsilon Psi Fraternity
Asian Student Association at UCF
Delta Phi Omega Sorority
The Diversified Greek Council at UCF
Mu Sigma Upsilon Sorority
Crown to Crown Girls Mentorship

These active and engaged students will be using their social media platforms to help us recruit more donors to the Be The Match registry. We will share their videos and activity on our social pages in the coming days and weeks.

Help them succeed in their efforts. Join the registry on their behalf.

pledge to save a life

Watch our Facebook page for the first video installment from the brothers of Delta Epsilon Psi at UCF.

Written by: Bret Itskowitch

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