In partnership with DKMS (We Delete Blood Cancer), ELGA Credit Union hosted a Bone Marrow Donor Registration Drive on February 15, 2019. Hank Graff Davison also helped to sponsor the event. We had a Valentine’s Day theme and the event was named “Share the Love ♥ Give A Swab.”

Tracy’s Story

In May 2015 I found out I was pregnant and at the same time, I also was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. My leukemia is well controlled and I am very lucky to live a pretty normal life. However, I know that at any point in my life, that could change and I would need a Bone Marrow or Stem Cell transplant. If my brother is not a match for me, I will need to hope there is a match for me in the registry who is willing to save my life.  That is why this is a cause very close to my heart.

Nearly 20,000 Americans need a Bone Marrow transplant every year. 70% of these patients do not have a compatible match in their family (siblings are usually the best chance) and will need to rely on the registry to find a donor. Unfortunately, 6 out of 10 patients will not receive the transplant they need because a match cannot be found. This is why it is important to get as many people on the registry as possible.

Better Every Year

This is the second Bone Marrow Donor Drive ELGA has let me champion. ELGA is always so supportive of my mission.  I presented to the ELGA staff to tell my story and explain the need for donors and what the process requires. As always, the support I received was powerful and many appreciated the awareness it shed on the subject.

DKMS was great to work with again. My rep is always quick to email back with answers to questions and did an over the phone training with myself and my two volunteers, Kim Smith and Lynette Shannon, to show us how to use the new tablets and make sure we knew the new swabbing process. The process had changed a bit since last time and the tablets made things MUCH easier! I plan to do this event again next year and until then I will be thinking of ways I can change it up and reach more people!

31 More Lifesavers

Two ELGA member stories stood out to me in particular. A man came in and told me that his wife had been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in August 2017. In July 2018 she had a stem cell transplant which saved her life. He came in to get on the registry to pay it forward. He said this program saved his wife’s life and it was the least he could do. Then at about 6:45, only 15 minutes before we ended our drive for the night, two young girls came in. They had just joined ELGA THAT DAY and saw the donor drive info on the big screen and came and got registered. What a way to welcome new members to the ELGA family.

Between ELGA associates and ELGA members, we were able to get 31 new people on the Donor Registry at our drive and sent in a donation of $1,600 for DKMS to help cover the $65 cost to them to add a person to the registry.  That is 31 more people available to patients who are looking for a match. After everything was packaged and sent off back to DKMS I came back to my desk and reflected on what we had done and it gave me the warm fuzzies. We did a good thing and I truly hope what we did here at ELGA can save a life someday.

If you are interested in joining the Bone Marrow Donor registry, or to learn more about the process, visit the DKMS Website.

Author: Tracy Mandock, Indirect Lending Specialist

Tracy and Lynette awaiting registrants.
The treat table for those who visited.
The banner across the Community Room that read, “Share the Love – Give A Swab”
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