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Honor Society Takes Initiative to Treat Cancer Patients

15 April 2015

On April 14, Pratt Community College held a bone marrow donor registration drive and fundraiser. The event drew in 39 students, employees and community members who gave DNA samples for testing, filled out health paperwork, and signed an agreement to donate peripheral blood stem cells or bone marrow if a patient match is found. 

The event was sponsored by the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society on campus and held in conjunction with Be The Match foundation, a nonprofit organization that operates a national registry of volunteer donors. According to LaGail Chism, a community engagement representative for BTM, all 39 will now be added to a database that doctors worldwide can search. Donors will only be contacted if they are determined to be the best match for the patient from the entire database.

“I participated because it gave me the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life,” said Brian Carter, an education sophomore from Bethel, Ohio. “It could be the difference between life and death, and that's an amazing feeling.” 

IMG_0067_1.jpgPTK also held penny wars to fundraise for the foundation. Six departments competed to collect the most pennies, which help offset the cost of processing paperwork and testing the DNA of registrants. The Performing Arts department won the competition with $72 in change. Overall, $133 was donated to BTM. 

“It was awesome to have my chapter of PTK host this because it allowed me to see our community react to a great cause,” said Carter, chapter co-president. “We had a good turnout relative to the campus size, and many who were willing to volunteer even though they previously knew nothing about the cause.”

The Be The Match Registry is the world's largest hematopoietic cell registry with 12.5 million members treating patients with a variety of blood, bone marrow and immune system disorders such as leukemia and lymphoma. In addition to registering donors and fundraising, BTM also provides support for patients, caregivers and families, provides clinical education for healthcare professionals, conducts research in more than 800 research publications. For more information, visit www.bethematch.org.

Student volunteers pose with a board bearing names of all who registered to join the bone marrow donor registry

Reaching out to cancer patients around the world is just one of the ways that PCC celebrates being part of the Pratt community. Our mission is maximum student learning, individual and workforce development, high quality instruction and service, and community enrichment. Each year, the members of the PCC family contribute more than 13,000 hours in community service and engagement to South Central Kansas. Our middle name is community.