Greeks Show Ethical Leadership At CMU

Student-driven bone marrow registry drive

Every three minutes in the United States someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer; and for many, a blood stem cell or blood marrow transplant is their only chance for survival. Nearly 14,000 Americans each year rely on strangers to offer them that last ray of hope.

Central Methodist University freshman Austin Sims, a special education major from Fenton, receives instruction from CMU sophomore William Roberts, a physical education major from Sturgeon, as Sims swabs the inside of his mouth as part of the registration process for the bone marrow registry event at CMU on Thursday, Nov. 17.A non-profit organization called DKMS exists to collect samples and match blood elements from those strangers to the patients in need. Central Methodist University’s Greek social organizations held a registry drive on Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 16-17, to register as many students, faculty, and staff as possible.

Joy Flanders, student success coordinator pointed out that this process was completely student-driven. She related that DKMS came to campus hoping they would get 50 new registers from a school of CMU’s size.

DKMS sorely underestimated the heart of Central Methodist.

CMU Greek Life set their own goal at 100, twice DKMS’s goal. At the end of day one, they already had registered 70. They redoubled their efforts and ended day two with a final tally of 107 new donors.

According to Flanders, a student brought the potential project to the CMU Greek Council, which approves Greek activities and financially supports certain projects. There was not a dissenting voice. Students jumped on board, raising money from donations and a raffle. The students got trained, organized the volunteers, and held the drive.

To register as a donor, each student filled out paperwork and gave a cheek swab to be evaluated. The money raised by the students and the Greek Council covered the $65 cost to register and medically evaluate each donor sample and other expenses.

DKMS began some 25 years ago in Germany when a doctor was unable to save his wife’s life when she came down with leukemia. He vowed to try to find matches for every blood cancer patient he encountered. At the time, there were only 3,000 potential stem cell donors available.

Since that time, the company has spread worldwide with offices in Germany, the United States, Poland, Spain and the U.K., and has registered more than six million potential donors. The two procedures can help fight blood cancers like leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma as well as other blood disorders such as sickle cell, severe aplastic anemia, and immune system disorders.

In this season of Thanksgiving, the students have increased the possibility of more patients having reason to be thankful. And the students are grateful for the opportunity to help.

“It’s really been a great effort on their part,” said Flanders, “with phenomenal results. What a way to make a difference in the world through ethical leadership.”


Posted November 21, 2016