Lifesaving Marrow Registry Drive comes to Texas A&M International University

GenCure hosts Be the Cure on Campus registry drive to find matches for blood cancer patients
November 5, 2018

Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) students in Laredo can save a life by signing up for the marrow donor registry at the Be the Cure on Campus drive from Oct. 1, 2018 to Sept. 30, 2019. GenCure, a subsidiary of San Antonio nonprofit BioBridge Global, will have information tables on campus Nov. 5 - 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Breezeway, Senator Judith Zaffirini Student Success Center Green and Student Center rotunda.

For patients like seven-year-old Leighton De La Rosa, every person who joins the marrow donor registry is helping to find a cure for cancer. After eight months in remission, Leighton was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins anaplastic lymphoma, a rare blood cancer, for the second time. Leighton needs a bone marrow transplant but is still awaiting a match.

“She is warrior and such a fighter,” said Leighton’s mother Amanda De La Rosa. She hopes to find a tutor for Leighton while she receives treatment in Houston. “We are planning on her growing old and becoming a productive member of society.”

Be the Cure on Campus is an effort to register individuals ages 18-44 to the national marrow donor registry and find lifesaving bone marrow or stem cell transplants for patients with blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma. Because a patient is more likely to match someone from their own race or ethnicity, students of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds are especially encouraged to join the Registry. The more people who join the registry, the higher a chance for Leighton and other patients to find a match.

Last year, 268 TAMIU students joined the Be the Match Registry. This year’s drive aims to add 250 potential bone marrow or stem cell donors to the Registry.

“This will be the fourth year TAMIU will partners with GenCure to host Be the Cure on Campus marrow registry drive, formally known as the Be the Match Registry.  The TAMIU family has registered hundreds of donors over the years, demonstrating repeatedly that our University community is one full of kindness, selflessness, and generosity. This donor drive is of great importance to our community as we recognize the vital role we can all play in saving a life,”  said San Juanita Guerra, TAMIU associate director, Office of Student Conduct and Community Engagement.

The STAR Club, TAMIU Trailblazers, Wellness Education Leaders, Students Conquering Unlimited Achievements through Determination (SCUAD) and Student Nurses Association are working with GenCure representatives to host information tables.

To join the Registry, donors must be:

  • between the ages of 18 and 44
  • in general good health
  • willing and available to donate to any patient in need, until age 61
  • able to keep their contact information current

Students can start the signup process by texting Cure44 to 61474 to receive a link to the online registration form. Once the form is complete, a cheek swab kit will be mailed to the student. Follow the directions on the kit and return the cheek swabs in the mail to complete the registration.

Each year, 14,000 blood cancer patients are in need of a marrow or stem cell transplant. Only 1 in 430 registry members will donate. Half of matched donors contacted will decline further testing and donation, which is devastating to patients and their families.