PRCC’s Phi Theta Kappa and nursing program collects marrow

Published 7:00 am Friday, April 6, 2018

In collaboration with Poplarville Phi Theta Kappa, the Pearl River Community College ADN Nursing program and DKMS, a bone marrow donor drive was held Wednesday afternoon. DKMS is a nonprofit dedicated to helping people with blood cancer.

Phi Theta Kappa Advisor Robin Nix said if a person suffers from leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma, cancer can be found in that person’s blood and they need to undergo chemotherapy.

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The procedure of undergoing chemotherapy and the negative impact of having cancer can cause a person’s bone marrow to stop functioning properly. Nix said a bone marrow transplant can help the patient’s bloodstream create new and healthy white and red blood cells.

Usually, about 70 percent of the time, patients will need an outside donor to find a match and that’s where marrow drives come into play.

For a person to become a donor, they need to meet certain criteria, such as being between 18- and 55-years-old, a permanent resident of the U.S., not a member of the U.S. military and not suffer from diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B or C or from kidney or liver disease.

After a person has filled out the application, they are given three swabs and will be required to rub it inside each cheek for about 30 seconds. Afterwards, they will let the swab air dry and the swabs will be sent to DKMS.

“If you are a match, the company will contact you about further details and it’s a fairly simple procedure,” Nix said. “The donation is basically a blood donation, where they will obtain your peripheral blood cells and will put the rest of the blood back in your body.”

Nix said that about 25 percent of the time, cancer treatment patients need a donation of another person’s actual bone marrow. If that’s the case, the donor will undergo general anesthesia and his or her bone marrow will be harvested from the hip bone.

“After a year has gone by, the company will give you more details about the patient that received your bone marrow, if you are interested in knowing the person that you helped,” Nix said.

The Bone Marrow donor drive at PRCC was held in memory of Sarah Boone.

Boone, a Picayune resident and PRCC student, passed away last fall due to leukemia. She left behind a husband and a 12-year-old daughter. She was also the granddaughter of the head of the Alumni Foundation at PRCC, Ernie Lovell, according to Nix.

Anyone interested in becoming a bone marrow donor, can visit and fill out the online application.