Saving lives

Deceased Ferris student honored at blood and marrow drive

Many students came together to give blood and register as bone marrow transplant donors to save lives.

“This event is important because you help so many people,” Ferris radiography sophomore Tiyler Rush said. “Not many people know about this type of event. This is a great opportunity for people like us to help save others’ lives.”

Ferris TIP scholars coordinator Judy Watson coordinated Be the Match, a national marrow donor program, after her Ferris advisee Jessica Parham died from an autoimmune disorder. A bone marrow transplant could have saved her life.

The Red Cross and Be the Match partnered last Wednesday at the West Campus Community Center. Phi Lambda Sigma hosted another drive last Thursday.

According to Donor Recruitment Representative Zak Krebs, 60 people qualified to give blood, 52 units of blood were collected and 36 people registered as bone marrow transplants on Wednesday. Lauren Sumner, the community service chair for Phi Lambda Sigma, said about 50 pints of blood were collected on Thursday and approximately 20 people signed up as bone marrow transplant donors.

“Patients suffering from illnesses like leukemia, lymphoma or one of 70 other blood-related illnesses rely very heavily on volunteer donors to provide lifesaving blood products, including blood and marrow donations,” Marrow and Stem Cell Recruiter Kona Dominick said. “Volunteer blood and marrow donors provide patients with the best gift of all, the gift of life.”

Ferris criminal justice sophomore Aliah Scroggins volunteered at the event and helped spread the word throughout the community. She said she learned only one in 540 people will actually be a match for a person in need of a bone marrow transplant.

“There is no alternative to the products that come from whole blood donations,” Krebs said. “Every donation we see is saving 3 lives. Donating is really a form of citizenship; it’s a form of being involved in the greater community and being aware that every commitment that you give helps the greater good.”

Parham’s mother, sister and many relatives attended the event on Wednesday. Ferris general studies sophomore Chelsea Miller said Parham’s family became like her own while she volunteered. A ceremony was held for Parham, where her family was presented with a diploma in her honor.