Bone marrow recipient organizes drive to help others - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Bone marrow recipient organizes drive to help others

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - It could happen two days from now, or ten years down the road, but your opportunity to help a perfect stranger begins on Thursday.

UW-Eau Claire and Sacred Heart Hospital will once again host a "Be the Match" bone marrow drive. The event aims to add new people to the national bone marrow registry; a list that matches those in need with those who can help.

"All it is is a couple questions that you answer, health information, a couple swabs of your cheek and you're good to go," Cari Janke, one of the event organizers says.

For less time than it takes to file your taxes, you can sign up to donate bone marrow and possibly save a life.

"This is their last hope. People that need bone marrow, this is their last hope. This is their last chance at surviving," Janke says.

"Signing up on the registry truly helps save lives. I'm living proof of that. If my donor hadn't signed up on the registry, I would most likely not be here today," Hailey Craig, an event organizer says.

Hailey was diagnosed with leukemia in 2005.

"I went through ten months of being in the hospital, through hospitalized chemotherapy and radiation and was told that in order for me to survive, I would need a bone marrow transplant," Craig says.

Three months later, a match was found.

"One in four people can be a blood match but it may be one in a million that you're a match as a bone marrow donor," Craig says.

The donor, who had added her name to the registry ten years before being matched, almost backed out.

"She looked at her 12 year old daughter and thought, if my daughter ever needed a transplant, I would want somebody to do that. She's pretty amazing. I don't know how to say thank you for saving my life but I try to honor her in a way of living my life and giving back to the community by doing bone marrow drives," Craig says.

Last year, 111 people gave up twenty minutes of their time to register during the drive. This year, organizers hope to surpass that number.

The donor drive is being held Thursday in the Davies Center on the UW-Eau Claire campus. They will be swabbing cheeks from ten in the morning until four in the afternoon.

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