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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Club advocates for bone marrow donation awareness

Be The Match-TAMU, an organization that advocates for bone marrow education, is working to eradicate common misconceptions about bone marrow donations to save lives.
Taylor Whittaker, Class of 2013, established Be The Match-TAMU. Through an internship with the national Be The Match, Whittaker said she sought to make the organization a reality on campus. The A&M chapter was recognized by the national organization on June 11, 2012.
Be The Match raises awareness primarily by hosting fundraising events, said Steven Klawinsky, president-elect for the A&M organization and sophomore chemistry major.
When Whittaker was giving a presentation about Be The Match last year, she said it was surprisingly difficult for people of multiple ethnicities to find a bone marrow donor. Jacqueline Wenzlaff, president for Be The Match-TAMU and senior forensic investigative science major, was in the audience and decided she wanted to help out.
“Since I’m half-Hispanic and half-white, I figured I would want to be able to find a match if I needed to,” Wenzlaff said. “Then when Taylor told me she was starting this organization on campus and asked if I wanted to help, I said sure.”
Wenzlaff said while Be The Match is established across the country, its message is still needed as many of the negative preconceived ideas about bone marrow donation exist because of media portrayals.
“People see movies or TV shows and think it’s this horrible painful procedure when it really isn’t,” Wenzlaff said. “A lot of times people just aren’t educated about marrow donation and haven’t heard about it, so they hear the words ‘bone marrow’ and get scared.”
Contrasting this depiction, Wenszlaff said the process of becoming a bone marrow donor is stress-free and simple. She said there are currently two ways to donate, and the process is often similar to that of plasma donation.
Andre Martinez, director of marketing and public relations for Be The Match and senior microbiology major, said the myths and fears surrounding the procedure are not at all accurate. Martinez said educating people about the actual process is something they are trying to do on campus.
“One of our previous officers, Kaci DeCock, donated through the marrow extraction from the hip and she was walking within four hours after the procedure and it didn’t really phase her a whole lot,” Martinez said.

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