Going into this whole unrelated donor thing, I’ve been especially privy to convo (my mom demanded Urban Dictionary on this one) about ways to increase the ranks of potential bone marrow donors. You’ve seen Powell Tate’s Be The Match Registry Drive and several of you have graciously signed up for the Be The One Run on May 21 in Minneapolis.
Well, for you Minnesotans who are still looking for a way to get involved, have I got news for you. Jennifer, a friend and former U of M coworker of mine, has organized a truly M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-An effort – a Be The Match Registry drive at TCF Bank Stadium on the U of M campus! The drive will take place August 13 – right around my big 100 day mark.
Check out her blog chronicling the planning (ahem, and you may want to read up on Inspiration #2). She also just launched an in-the-works website – Keep On Keepin’ On – where she is looking for sponsors, volunteers, donors, and any other skills you can offer. Jen is driven (ha, get it?), so I know this drive will be successful. But think of how much more successful it would be if you donned your maroon and gold attitude and contributed. Please email Jen at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a skill you’d like to propose.
And across the cornfields, Standford University’s Haas Center for Public Service and student group 100k Cheeks have been putting on quite impressive thinking caps to solve the problem of registering more donors, specifically minorities. Did you know that if you are of the South Asian demographic, your chance of finding a match is 1 in 20,000? 1 in 20,000, are you kidding me? Not okay.
They’ve teamed up with OpenIDEO, an online platform “where good ideas gain momentum” to brainstorm ideas that could contribute to solving the problem. They look at the problem in four phases – Inspiration, Concepting, Evaluation and Winning Concepts.
Now in the last stage, they’ve announced their 10 winning concepts, which include solutions like adding “Bone Marrow Donor” to your driver’s license and leveraging community spiritual leaders to be cheerleaders for registration. Each solution confronts the barriers of bone marrow donation – fear, misunderstanding, cost, time, feeling rushed and cultural beliefs. I especially like the concept called BeTheInternationalMatch.org, which uses an interactive map to globally centralize location data for donor centers, national registries, donor drives and other information on a central site. Anyone who knows my love of maps – I did opt for a world map shower curtain, after all – could have guessed this would be a fave.
In the next few weeks, the students of 100K Cheeks will be launching a new phase to the project called Realization, which will enable them to share their implementation progress with everyone online.
It’s committed creativity like this that’s going to solve the problem. We need to think bigger. We need to think long-term. From someone who found her 10-out-of-10 match and knows how much hope it yields, I encourage you to follow and support these big ideas so that my white-girl-luck can be more the norm for all patients in need.
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