At its 16th annual bone marrow registry drive, Delta Zeta sorority surpassed its donor registration goal with a total of 396 registrations.
The chapter’s goal was to beat Clemson, which had 250 people register to potentially donate bone marrow at its drive. However, the sisters at USC said they were just happy to have a possible impact on a patient.
“Even one to 20 names on the list makes a difference, so really any names we can get,” Delta Zeta member Grace Lang said.
The sorority partnered with Gift of Life Marrow Registry to organize the event. The sisters and Gift of Life student ambassadors set up registry locations at the Arnold School of Public Health, 650 Lincoln, the nursing building, Darla Moore School of Business and Russell House.
“It was just a lot of coordination across campus because it's not one location, it's multiple, so that was probably the hardest part,” said Victoria Batchelor, the vice president of philanthropy for Delta Zeta and a third-year public health and psychology student.
The sorority first hosted a bone marrow registry drive in 2004, when a sister from the USC chapter of Delta Zeta, Caroline Terry, was diagnosed with leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant.
Terry was eventually paired with a match, but due to complications, she died in 2005 at 20 years old. The sorority has been hosting its annual registry drive, Sweet Caroline, ever since.
"[It] inspired us to unite our chapter and do something that continues fighting this cause for bone cancers like leukemia and lymphoma,” said Morgiana McDevitt, a second-year environmental studies and economics student and Delta Zeta member.
Every year, a few of Terry’s family members come to speak to the USC chapter and they always bring a different stuffed animal turtle, the sorority’s mascot, to show their support for Delta Zeta.
Batchelor said Terry’s family visiting the chapter was important.
“Girls just think it’s tabling, and it’s something we have to do. But there is a reason why we do it, and why we do it each year and why it’s important to us,” Batchelor said.
Some of the sisters, including Batchelor, know someone else who has needed a bone marrow transplant.
“My little cousin actually had leukemia at a very young age, like right when she was an infant. So, they were looking for matches for her, and then my uncle actually had his eldest son be his match when he had his operation last year, so this is, like, very up and close and personal and very close to my heart,” Batchelor said.
According to the Institute for Justice, out of those who need bone marrow transplants, 70% have to look for a donor match on the national registry. The other 30% are able to find a donor in their family.
“I had a friend that was a donor through this program, and he invited all my buddies to come and do it, and so we all thought we would try it out,” Ryan Long, a USC student who registered through Delta Zeta's drive, said.
Abby Edwards is the president of Delta Zeta and a third-year public health student.
“One of our six core values as Delta Zeta’s is to give graciously," Edwards said in an email interview. "I am so proud of the way my sisters live out this value through their dedication to Sweet Caroline, in a way that is so contagious and inspires others to go as far as to save a life."