On Wednesday, September 27, the Marysville campus community gathered to show its support and compassion. By donating blood, students and staff helped to meet the needs of over 40 hospitals in the Northern and Central California counties.
Yuba College student Lisa Rhbuby donated both her DNA sample for marrow and blood at the drive. “It’s necessary,” she said. When asked how often she donates her blood, Rhbuby replied, “Whenever I can.” Rhbuby’s son suffered from cancer when he was younger and received blood transfusions. Thanks to blood donors, he is now doing well.
Yuba College Shauna Hubart, a first-time blood donor, nervously donated blood. However, after talking for a few minutes, she barely noticed the needle was in.
Although many people came to donate their blood, few opted to register their DNA for bone marrow donation. Marrow is the soft tissue inside the bones that produces blood-forming cells. Most likely the bone chilling rumors of a painful donation process turns some people away from offering their marrow. Few understand the new techniques doctors have come up with to make this process as painless as possible.
If you are chosen as a donor, you must first undergo is a physical to make sure donating will not pose any risks to you or the one receiving the marrow. Donating marrow is actually a surgical procedure. As the donor, you are put under anesthesia while the doctor extracts liquid marrow from the back of your pelvic bones.
Recovery for the donor takes a few days. During that time some soreness in the lower back can be expected, sort of like being to the gym and working out really hard. After about six weeks the marrow is completely replaced.
The most mind-boggling part of the donation process is the side effects experienced by the patient receiving the marrow. Blood Source associate Shawn Ramos explained that when a patient receives marrow, she begins to take on features of the donor. For example, if say you have blonde hair and blue eyes and receive marrow from someone who has brown hair and brown eyes, your eye and hair color will change to brown.
Also, if you are male and receive marrow from a woman, future blood and urine tests that you take may read female. Ramos recalled a patient who had received marrow from a sibling. The patient had never suffered from allergies until receiving the donation from her brother, who had frequent allergy problems.
Marrow is usually used to help patients suffering from leukemia and other life threatening blood disorders. What doctors are now finding is that it can also be used to help breast cancer patients who have been through chemotherapy.
The hardest part about bone marrow donation is finding a match. In order to receive marrow, the patient must find a donor with an exact DNA match. According to the National Marrow Donor Program, only 30 percent of those needing a blood or marrow donation will find a match in their families. The other 70 percent have to look for marrow from unrelated donors.