Good Morning America visited campus on Tuesday for a live broadcast of a “Be the Match” National Marrow Donor Program event.
Be the Match is a national organization that looks for potential donors for patients with blood cancers like leukemia or lymphoma. According to Be the Match, a bone marrow or cord blood transplant can often be crucial in helping a patient recover from cancer.
During the event, Be the Match worked with student leaders to offer free swabs to students to find out if they have a blood type compatible with someone in need.
"I think more people should know about 'Be the Match' and organizations like this because it allows us to get more donors, get more matches, and help save a lot more lives," Eman Chaudhry, a second-year biology student, said.
Students from a variety of different organizations attended to support Be the Match, such as the Student Nurses Association and Alpha Epsilon Delta.
“As nurses, all we want to do is help people, so I feel like having us as student nurses represent this organization that helps so many people, I think it’s really important,” Gianna Torinesc, a fourth-year nursing major, said.
USC's Be the Match President Maeve Kelley, a fourth-year English student, said she started the club her freshman year after the organization had gone dormant. Now, the club has the most diverse registry in the country.
“We’re trying to utilize our diverse campus and get more people signed up that way, because it really improves your odds if you have someone of your ethnicity on the registry,” Kelley said.
Kelley learned about the need for donors for leukemia and bloodless diseases when her cousin was diagnosed with leukemia at age 11, inspiring her to later start the organization back up at USC .
“I know that usually when you see us out and about, you’re like on your way to class or something, but if you have time, if you could stop and swab, it takes three and half minutes, and you could really save a life,” Kelley said.
USC Women’s basketball head coach Dawn Staley was also in attendance and said Be the Match is an important program for her and her family.
“This is very personal to me. My sister was diagnosed three years ago with leukemia. All of our siblings got tested and, fortunately for my sister, my brother was a perfect match,” Staley said. "My brother Lawrence gave my sister the gift of life, gave our family peace of mind, so it's very important that people sign up on the national registry to do that."
Staley said it is important that the USC community continue to support the cause even after the event passes.
“You have to be intentional about anything that you want to get accomplished, and although we’re out here today, it can’t be a one-hit wonder," Staley said. "It has to be a theme thing, it has to be something that you’re constantly reinforcing."