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July 31, 2014

Airmen register to donate bone marrow

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Airman 1st Class Cheyenne Morigeau
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cheyenne Morigeau)
1st Lt. Caleb Taylor, 55th Electronic Combat Group deputy group resource advisor and standardization and evaluation liaison officer, swabs the inside of his cheek at Davis-Monthan, July 22. Taylor was required to submit a swab sample in order to register as a bone marrow donor.

A D-M Airman hosted a Bone Marrow Donor Registration Drive here from July 14-25.

After returning from a deployment to Afghanistan, Tech. Sgt. Jessie Huynh-Toor, 55th Electronic Combat Group mission crew supervisor and acquisition operator group evaluator, had the idea to register to donate bone marrow.

The idea came to her when she realized she was ineligible to give blood.

“You can’t give blood after you’ve been to Afghanistan, so I found out that registering to be a bone marrow donor doesn’t have the same restrictions,” Huynh-Toor said.

Huynh-Toor emailed the C.W. Bill Young Department of Defense Marrow Donor Program, also known as Salute to Life, and was given the idea to host the Bone Marrow Donor Registration Drive.

Salute to Life works with military personnel as well as DoD civilian employees to facilitate marrow and stem donations.

The drive allows Desert Lightning Team members the opportunity to register to become potential bone marrow donors.

With the proper approval and a partnership with D-M’s medical group, Huynh-Toor initiated the process to host the drive.

“I sent out some feeler emails and now I have 40 point of contacts throughout the base who are registering volunteers,” Huynh-Toor said. “Once you’re registered, you are registered until the age of 61.”

In order to register, a consent form must be filled out and a swab of your inner cheek has to be submitted. The swab will be analyzed and the data will be put into the National Marrow Donor Registry.

“Personal info doesn’t go into the database, once their cells get filed, they get their own serial number that goes into a public database for doctors to be able to search for potential donors,” Huynh-Toor said.

With the help of 40 different people throughout D-M, Huynh-Toor and her team rallied more than 800 Desert Lightning Team members to register to become potential bone marrow donors.

“We set our goal to 2,500 registrants,” Huynh-Toor said. “As of right now we’re at 800. We used this drive as a kick off, and now the medical lab will be maintaining the rest of the kits that we haven’t used for walk-in registrations.”

Volunteers took advantage of the chance to do something good.

“I didn’t know much about the bone marrow donor program, but as I learned

more I thought it sounded like a great opportunity to help someone in need,” said Capt. Benjamin Moran, 55th ECG deputy chief of standardization and evaluation.

“I chose to become a potential donor because I think it would be great to be able to have a part in saving someone’s life.”

For more information on the Salute to Life program you can go to www.salutetolife.org or http://bethematch.org.




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(U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Massey)

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