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The College of Management will co-sponsor a two-day bone marrow drive on Tuesday, April 14 and Wednesday, April 15 to help find people with potential to offer life-saving stem-cell donations to those suffering from cancer and other diseases.
The drive ߝ which will be conducted by the Dana Farber Cancer Institute at locations on both North and South campuses ߝ has a special meaning for Prof. J. Stephen Collins. Collins, chair of the Accounting Department, is a two-time stem-cell transplant recipient.
Collins, who received the donations in 2004 and 2005, was the 1,000th recipient from an unrelated donor at Dana Farber in Boston.
“It saved my life,” says Collins, who was suffering from two blood disorders, myelodysplasia and leukemia.
Since the donations, Collins has been in touch with his two donors, both of whom live in Germany. “It’s been fascinating to let them know I’m doing well and see what they are doing.”
Collins says the drive at UMass Lowell could lead to similar results. “The same thing is true of people who donate here. They may be helping someone anywhere in the world.”
The process of becoming a potential donor is a relatively painless one, involving filling out a form and having the inside of the mouth swabbed with something much like a Q-Tip. This is used in the initial typing for donors at a lab.
“It is really a simple process to become a donor,” Collins says.
Later, Collins explains, if someone typed is found to be a potential donor for someone in need of a transplant, additional work is done, such as taking blood samples and a physical examination. Potential donors remain in the International Bone Marrow Registry until they turn 61 or request to be removed.
Universities, says Collins, are great places for bone marrow drives because many of those who participate are young and are more likely to come from diverse backgrounds. Many ethnic groups, he said, are under-represented in the bone marrow donor registry.
The drive, which is open to the public as well as the entire University community, is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both days. On April 14, it will take place in the Cumnock Hall auditorium. On April 15, it will be held in the McGauvran Student Center.