Simpson to hold first bone marrow drive

by Suzanne Barrett

Simpson is sponsoring its first annual bone marrow drive Nov. 11from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in BSC.

Patricia Singer, professor and chair of the department ofbiology and environmental sciences, and Steve Ellens, assistantmen’s basketball coach, are helping out with the drive.

Steve Ellens’ brother, sophomore Scott Ellens is also lending ahand.

“I first got the idea when my brother did a bone marrow drive athis college in Santa Barbara at UCSB,” said Scott Ellens. “Hisdrive was very successful, and I hope that ours will also be.”

Deb Hoyle, membership coordinator for the Iowa Marrow DonorProgram out of Iowa City, said there are some things students needto do in order to prepare for bone marrow registration.

“Students will be asked a series of questions regarding theirhealth, and will read some educational material about becoming abone marrow donor,” she said.

Participating students are required to fill out a consent formfor review.

They will also have a small sample of blood drawn from theirarm. The blood will be stored by the National Bone Marrow DonorProgram for future reference.

Steve Ellens, who has been battling leukemia for two years, saidhe feels it is essential that people from the Simpson communitybecome a donor.

“The opportunity to save someone’s life is an amazing thing.There are thousands of people who are terminally ill and may have achance for survival with a marrow donor,” he said. “I am a CML(Chronic Myeloid Leukemia) patient and am a potential candidate fora bone marrow transplant. I have a vested interest in the successof our drive-it could literally be life-saving for me.”

Aside from his work on campus, Steve Ellens is also active inmany other avenues including improving patient services and helpingto raise money for research and development of advanced treatmentmethods.

Senior Katy Langgaard has given bone marrow before and wants toease the fears of those who are afraid to donate.

“[I wanted] to let people know that the procedure isn’tterrible,” she said.

Langgaard, also has a personal connection with the drive. Herbrother Kris Langgaard, a freshman at Simpson, has been diagnosedwith Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.

“I didn’t think twice about wanting to do it for my brother andI wouldn’t think twice about doing it for someone else either,” shesaid.

Langgaard said that she is thankful she was actually able tohelp her brother.

“There’s only a 20% chance of a sibling being a match. That’swhy I thank God everyday to have been given this chance to help mybrother,” she said.

In order to pay for Simpson’s drive the Athletes for Otherstheme house and Alpha Phi Omega will be fund raising to covertissue typing costs.

Langgaard said that anyone can help out with the drive.

“We can always use donations, fundraising ideas, or people tohelp out with fundraising. Also, people can help by spreadingawareness and encouraging others to volunteer,” she said.

To be able to give bone marrow a donor must be between the agesof 18 and 60.

“[Obviously], young bone marrow grows better than old bonemarrow, but even old marrow is better than no marrow,” shesaid.

Singer also said that other health conditions may rule out apotential donor. The screening questions will identify who iseligible and who isn’t.

Getting involved beyond Simpson is quick and easy.

“People can get involved by registering with the Iowa MarrowDonor Registry out of Iowa City. If called upon as a match for aterminally ill patient, they may be the key to survival for thepatient and have the opportunity to literally save their life,”said Steve Ellens.

Minority groups and females are especially needed because notenough of them donate

“These groups are under represented on the bone marrowregistry,” said Singer.

The goal is to have 100 donors participating in Simpson’sdrive.

“If we register 100 people and none are called yet, that isfine,” said Steve Ellens. “They may be eventually and even if wehelp just one person all the work is worth it.”