Campus-wide drive for students, faculty, staff to join Bone Marrow Registry

Campus-wide drive for students, faculty, staff to join Bone Marrow Registry
Friday, October 25, 2013 - 4:35pm

Students, faculty and staff at The University of Texas at Brownsville will have the opportunity to take a few minutes that may someday save someone’s life by signing up to become a potential bone marrow donor. Volunteers will be signing up donors for the Match Marrow Registry from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. over three days, Monday, Oct. 28 through Wednesday, Oct. 30 at several stations throughout the UTB campus.

Thirty volunteers – members of the Texas State University Bachelor of Science in Radiation Therapy program – will be joining the Be The Match team that is partnering for the first time with UTB as part of the Cancer Advocacy Movement for Colleges and Outreach (CAMCO).

Dr. Lawrence E. Estaville, Professor of Geography at Texas State University, a bone marrow recipient and the founder of CAMCO, will train UTB student volunteers on Sunday, Oct. 27, prior to the drive that begins on Monday.

“Our students will learn the process and work to sign up donors throughout the three-day initiative,” said Steve Machner, Physician Assistant at UTB Student Health Services. “This way, we will be able to handle the process on our own in the future.”

Machner said donors must be within the ages of 18-44 and in general good health. The process for donors to sign up involves filling out a short information sheet, and then collecting samples of DNA through swabbing their cheeks. The DNA analysis and demographic information are placed into the Match Registry.

Melissa Elizondo, Regional Marrow Consultant for the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center, said not everyone on the Be The Match Registry will match and be asked to donate to a patient.

“In fact, the chances of donating are only one in 540,” Elizondo said. “If you are asked to donate, the patient’s doctor has chosen you as the best donor. Donors are generally better matches if they are of the same ethnic group as the patient. That is important in South Texas because we are in need of many more Hispanics to step up to the plate and volunteer to be on the registry as possible donors.”

Machner said Student Health Services welcomes this opportunity to partner with CAMCO.

“CAMCO is about more than Marrow Registration Drives,” Elizondo said. “The organization strives to teach cancer awareness, to keep students informed and engaged in cancer prevention activities. The volunteers will be sharing a lot of health-related information with students and the campus community during our three-day drive.”

Machner said students, faculty and staff are welcome to bring family and friends with them to a campus donor sign-up station.

For more information on the UTB Be The Match drive, contact Steven Machner, Student Health Services, at 956-882-3896 or or Douglas Stoves, Assistant Dean of Residential Life and Auxiliary Services, at 956-882-7196 or

For more information on CAMCO’s Be The Match Registry, contact Melissa Elizondo at 956-572-6012 or

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