The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is asking everyone to Get In The Game and become part of Be The Match Registry, the cell registry that pairs potential donors with patients suffering from blood cancers. At the same time, there will be an opportunity to participate in Bloodanooga, a community-wide blood drive.
Community donors are urged to participate on Monday, March 4, noon-6 p.m. in the Tennessee Room of the UTC University Center. UTC faculty, staff, and students may participate Monday, March 4, noon-6 p.m.; Tuesday, March 5, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Wednesday, March 6, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Tennessee Room of the UTC University Center on each of the days.
All people of every background are needed for the Be The Match Registry, according to Alta Paden, Marrow Representative for Blood Assurance, Inc.
“Because tissue types are inherited, patients are most likely to match someone of their own race or ethnicity. Registry members from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds are especially needed, so every patient has a second chance at life,” Paden explained.
Of the 10.5 million members on the Be The Match Registry of potential marrow donors, only seven per cent are African American. There is greater diversity within the African American population than other racial and ethnic groups, so African Americans can have a difficult time finding a match.
Additional underrepresented groups on the registry are American Indian and Alaska Natives, who comprise only one percent of the registry of potential donors.
Potential donors complete basic paperwork and then give a DNA sample through a cheek swab to complete the submission.
“We want everyone to participate in Bloodanooga and Get in the Game. There are donation requirements and a series of health-related questions each person will be asked,” according to Carol Oglesby, Coordinator of Student Civic Engagement and Physical Health Education and Promotion.
- Donors must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with parental consent) and weigh at least 110 pounds.
- A donor care specialist checks hemoglobin (iron) level. It must be at least 12.5 g/dL.
- Blood pressure cannot be higher than 180/100 mm Hg or lower than 90/50 mm Hg (Even if you are currently taking medication, as long as your blood pressure meets these requirements, you are eligible to donate).
- Body temperature must be between 96.4 and 100.4 degrees.
- Pulse rate must be no lower than 50 beats/minute and no higher than 100 beats/minute.
- You will be asked a series of questions (http://www.bloodassurance.org/downloads/DonorQuestionnaire.pdf) to ensure that you are eligible to donate. (Please note that answering “yes” to certain questions will not automatically defer you from donating blood.)
- Specific medications may prevent some from donating.
If you have any questions not answered in this information, please call Blood Assurance at (423) 756-0966. A representative will discuss donation requirements and health-related questions.