Be the Match encourages Baylor students to make life-saving donations

Be the Match is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program and has helped patients find life-saving matches through their national registry. Be the Match will hold another registry drive from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday in the Baylor Sciences Building. Meredith Howard | Staff Writer

By Meredith Howard | Staff Writer

Baylor’s branch of the national organization Be the Match holds registry drives every semester to provide Baylor students with resources and information to join the registry list for stem cell and bone marrow donors.

Be the Match will hold another registry drive from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday in the Baylor Sciences Building.

Omaha, Neb., senior Jennifer Sexton, Be the Match’s president, has donated to save a patient in need, and she is passionate about encouraging other college students to do the same.

“What’s really important is that a lot of people think that it is like donating blood where they’re going to get a phone call every day,” Sexton said. “It’s actually really, really special if you get that phone call; you can save someone’s life, and it’s a really cool opportunity.”

Sexton said she was glad to be able to donate and that her experience was a positive one, knowing that she was able to help someone in need.

“It’s the best experience ever; you should feel so lucky if you get the chance to do that … and it’s the most incredible bond that you get to form,” Sexton said. “If you join the registry, you can form that connection; you can help save someone’s life. I just smile when I talk about it because it’s just so amazing, and I don’t think enough people are aware of the impact that they can make by just being themselves.”

Sexton said it is important for college students to donate because they are the healthiest age population.

“We’re always striving for more people on the registry because more people means more lives saved, so I don’t think we’ll ever be satisfied with how many people have signed up,” Sexton said.

Houston junior Abraham Balderas, Be the Match’s vice president, also said it is important for more students to consider donating.

“Especially in our generation, we’re so focused on making a change and making an impact,” Balderas said. “It may seem like a small thing, … but to someone else, that’s their life in your hands. That’s someone’s life that you could potentially save.”

Balderas said the first step in the process of joining the registry is to fill out paperwork online, which can be accessed by contacting Be the Match.

Students will then take a DNA test by swabbing the inside of their cheek to get tested for medical issues that could prohibit a donation. After students pass this test, they will be put on the registry. National Be the Match will continuously look for matches between patients and potential donors, and if a match is found, they will call the donor and ask if they are willing to donate.

According to Be the Match, agreeing to be a donor means that a person is willing to spend 20 to 30 hours, spread out over a four-to-six-week period to attend an information session, go to appointments and to actually donate.

Students who are interested in joining the stem cell and bone marrow donation registry or Be the Match can contact or for more information.