Dozens of nursing students at DePaul University are being recognized nationally for going above and beyond to help the organization "Be The Match."
The students may have an intense course load as part of their rigorous graduate program, but they set time aside to volunteer with the organization and help sign up as many people as possible to the Bone Marrow Registry throughout the year.
"Our DePaul nursing team has been integral and helping us really get out to diverse communities in Chicago and add more donors and save more lives," said Terri Haid, account manager for “Be The Match."
Joining the registry involves filling out a form and getting a cheek swab. Once you're enter, if you're identified as a potential match for a patient with a blood disorder in need of a stem-cell transplant, you could save a life.
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"I myself received one and I’m alive because of it," said 26-year-old Ami Nakrani, a recent graduate from DePaul University's Nursing Graduate Program who supports "Be The Match" for personal reasons.
Nakrani received a stem-cell transplant when she was 6 years old, from her younger brother.
"Everything worked out for me and that’s not the case for everybody," Nakrani said.
Only about 30% of patients with blood disorders in need of a stem cell transplant have a match in their family. The other 70%, rely on the National Bone Marrow Registry, according to "Be The Match."
"That’s why this work is so important," said Haid, who credits the DePaul nursing team for supporting over 100 "Be The Match" registry drives last year, resulting in more than 6,000 people joining and becoming potential stem cell donors.
"All of these people they’re adding to the registry potentially could save somebody’s life," said Haid.
Their work, has paid off. And recently, the National Marrow Donor program honored DePaul's nursing students with an award for their efforts, at the "Be The Match" International conference in Minneapolis.
"It is an incredible honor for students… only a handful of individuals win this award each year," said Haid.
"Knowing that we have a direct impact within the community and that has been recognized at the international level, it’s just amazing" said Nakrani, who hopes others will be encouraged to join the registry after hearing about their efforts.
To join the "Be The Match" registry, click here.