Loyola Marymount University students sign up for 'Be the Match' bone marrow registry

Denise Dador Image
Wednesday, February 22, 2023
Loyola Marymount students sign up for bone marrow registry
Students at Loyola Marymount University signed up to be potential donors for the "Be the Match" bone marrow registry.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As part of our support for Good Morning America's "One Match, Second Chance" campaign, ABC7 partnered with the "Be the Match" for bone marrow donor registry at Loyola Marymount University.

A diverse crowd of LMU students signed up to be potential donors.

"We reach out to our friends. We reach out to classmates," said student Aidan Pidgeon.

Pidgeon says persuading busy college students to sign up can be challenging, but you only have to look at GMA's Robin Robert's struggle with a life threatening blood disorder to understand how a small sacrifice can go a long way.

RELATED: Robin Roberts celebrates 10 years since 'GMA' return after bone marrow transplant

Eyewitness News anchor Shirleen Allicot sat down with Robin to reflect on the last decade and hear her call to action.

Roberts matched with her sister, and the odds of matching with a sibling is 1-in-4 at 24%. When you can't find a match with a relative, one looks to the "Be the Match" bone marrow registry.

The hope is that someone who has blood cancer or bone marrow disease will find their perfect match and find their genetic twin.

Since Roberts' bone marrow procedure, doctors have perfected a method in which a patient can be saved with a related half match.

MORE: Beating the bone marrow match odds: Scientists develop ways to level the playing field

ABC7 is joining "Good Morning America," who has partnered with Be the Match, to raise awareness of the Be the Match donor registry.

"I have had friends and family in the past who had given by bone marrow as well, and I just thought it'd be a really important thing to do," Pidgeon said.

Chelsea Brown put her name down on the registry because she wanted to be able to give if she could.

"I put myself on the registry because I wanted to be able to to give if I could and I want people to know that it really does matter, that the people are generous in that way, and it can change lives and it can save lives and I watched it happen and so I'm happy to to be on the in the database," Brown said.

For blood cancer patients and others with bone marrow related diseases, finding a match is difficult.

Kathryn Lopez for "Be the Match" said they're matching genetic traits and they're trying to find their patients' genetic twin to see if they'd be interested in donating.

The odds of matching range from 29% to 79%, depending on race and ethnicity.

"We don't have enough people in the registry coming from those backgrounds and adding themselves to the registry to see if they could potentially become a match," Lopez said.

Your odds of finding an unrelated match drops significantly if you are Black, Asian, Latino or Native American.

You can save a life from the comfort of your own couch by going to the "Be the Match" website.