Six students from colleges and universities across the country have been awarded grants for their college clubs for their work hosting bone marrow donor drives for DKMS. Each of the six winners received $1300.
The winners are: Ashley Rivers of Central Georgia Tech; Lindsay Gray of New Mexico State University; Jacob Sparks of University of Tennessee Health and Science Center; Majana Vukarjlovic of Florida Gulf Coast University; Rachel Rodriguez of Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi; and Osumanu Amoo of D’Youville College School of Pharmacy.
Winners are selected by meeting criteria set by the DKMS donor recruitment team. School size, social media promotion, and media opportunities are among the initiatives taken into account and awarded points.
“The commitment that these students have shown over the last semester is inspiring,” said Olivia Haddox, DKMS donor recruiter. “It’s because of leaders like them that we’re able to keep adding potential new lifesavers to the registry. These students are incredible and earned the grants.” The DKMS ureact college program aims to not only educate college students about bone marrow donation, but enables them to set up bone marrow donor drives on their campuses. It teaches leadership skills, helps the students increase their networking abilities and promotes creative thinking.
Texas A&M has always been a supporter of DKMS and host many donor drives on campus. “SAAC went all in this past year, turning the drive from a one-day event to a week-long crusade,” explains Rachel.
“Varying the times and locations each day also provided more flexibility and allowed a greater number of our student-athletes to take part and volunteer their time.”
The Florida Gulf Coast University team led by Majana had an unprecedented approach: “everyone in the executive board of FGCU CRP was a bit of a Star Wars buff so we figured "lifesaver" is pretty close to “lightsaber"so we tried to play off of that to get people to know that you can stop by our booth and potentially be a life saver. We even had our campus stormtrooper come out who normally works with make a wish and had an R2D2 gliding balloon along with prop lightsabers.
Regardless of the methods employed to grab attention, the goal was the same for everyone involved:” To motivate ourselves and others to THINK BIG and act” (Osumanu, D’Youville College School of Pharmacy.)
This year’s 19 college participants took on the challenge of explaining that bone marrow donation is not “what you see on TV.” As Ashley said, “everyone wants a cure for cancer but what they don't know is that they could potentially be someone's cure for cancer. “The more people that register to be a potential donor, the higher the possibility is for a patient to find their perfect unrelated match.” As a result of their hard work, the students registered a total of 1,928 potential donors.
Some of the participants, like Osumanu, have gone above and beyond to incorporate the DKMS mission to cultivate a class legacy. “We would be interested in educating, registering and volunteering our time for DKMS and all the patient inflicted with blood cancers for the remainder of our time at pharmacy school. This undertaking will be a Class of 2022 legacy we will leave behind for another class to pick up. Because as soon to be medical professional we must learn to put our time and focus on not only our scholastic endeavors but also our altruistic concerns.”