UAPB to hold kickoff for bone marrow drive Sept. 27

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is kicking off a bone marrow drive with a Be the Match assembly at 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, in the J.M. Ross Theatre of the Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts Building.

The event will feature Quinshuanita Thomas, a Pine Bluff resident diagnosed with Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria, and Tracy Shavers, bone marrow transplant recipient and an ambassador for the Be The Match Registry.

Every day, thousands of patients with leukemia, sickle cell anemia and other life-threatening diseases hope for a marrow donor who can make their transplant possible.

Patients are most likely to match someone who shares their heritage. Yet out of the 9 million members on the Be The Match Registry of potential marrow donors, only 650,000 are black. Because Africans migrated all over the world, there is greater diversity within the black population than other racial and ethnic groups. So black people can have a harder time finding a match than those of other heritages.

UAPB has entered into a partnership with the National Marrow Donor Program to help change that trend.

A nonprofit organization, the National Marrow Donor Program is the global leader in providing bone marrow and umbilical cord blood transplants to patients in need. NMDP operates the Be The Match Registry, the world’s largest listing of potential marrow donors and donated cord blood units and raises funds to help provide transplants to all patients through the Be The Match Foundation. NMDP also matches patients with donors, educates health care professionals and conducts research through their research arm, the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research.

For more information about the event, call 575-7106.