Update Sept. 20:
Tucker Hensen expected 50 people to be swabbed for World Marrow Donor Day, but 95 people were swabbed on Friday and added to the bone marrow registry.
10 others signed up to volunteer at future booths and join the student organization, Hensen said.
Leukemia, cancer of the blood, affects thousands of people in the United States each year.
Tucker Hensen, a senior studying mechanical engineering, is working with The Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation and students at Colorado State University to help build the international bone marrow registry to combat leukemia.
Hensen and members of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity will be swabbing mouths Friday at the flea market in the Lory Student Center from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. World Marrow Donor Day, happening Friday, is the one day out of the year where student ambassadors in all 50 states will be swabbing the inside of peoples mouths and adding them to the bone marrow registry.
“The registry is a list of people’s information, along with their bone marrow type, so when someone (who) has a blood disease, like leukemia, needs a transplant, they are able to look through this registry anytime, anywhere for people who have the correct bone marrow type,” Hensen said.
Hensen and other AEPi members will collect swabs that will be sent to a lab in Florida to determine a donor’s bone marrow type.
“Last year, in one week, we had 250 people entered into the registry,” said Justin Stasio, president of AEPi. “I think if we took a week or a couple weeks, we could get 500-700 more people entered into the registry.”
The success of World Marrow Donor Day relies on the amount of people who get their mouths swabbed, as well as the number of people willing to volunteer to run the booth.
“It’s important that people also realize we don’t want you to sign up unless you’re not going to be serious about it,” said Rachel Hensen, Tucker’s sister. “If you’re squeamish about needles, volunteer to help at a booth, but don’t put yourself on the registry.”
Tucker Hensen said he will continue to raise awareness of bone marrow donations.
“To get the lab analysis of the swabs costs about $60 to see what type of bone marrow a person is,” Tucker Hensen said. “If you can’t swab or can’t volunteer, or even if you have already done both of those, we always like donations. Our goal this semester is that we get $1 for every person that we swab.”
Collegian Reporter Savannah Hoag can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @sav_hoag.