By FLORENCE CAZENAVE
and RICHARD SISSON
Count ’em up. There are, officially, 985 heroes on Tech’s
Nine hundred eighty-five Tech students, faculty and
community members showed up in droves to help out with the “Heroes Save Lives
Bone Marrow Drive” from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday in the Student Center, Main
Those numbers mean that Tech held the national all-time
record for college bone marrow drives-for 24 hours-until the University of
Louisiana-Monroe broke the record again Tuesday.
Kathy Reeg, of Ruston, event
coordinator at Tech, said the drive had been in the works at ULM since
November. The drive consisted of a three-day competition between Tech, ULM and
Grambling State University.
“I got a call asking to coordinate the event [at Tech]
two and a half weeks ago,” Reeg said. “I worked to
get as much help from the community as possible. But it wasn’t my effort, it
According to the National Marrow Donor Program, the
purpose of the programs is to match volunteer donors with patients, arrange
collections and transportation of blood-forming cells and manage patient
support and research programs. Marrow transplants are used to treat leukemia
and other life-threatening blood diseases.
Sue Ellen Cascio, the event’s
local coordinator, said participants had to fill out a questionnaire, go
through a medical screening and get the inside of their cheeks swabbed.
“The whole process takes 15 minutes,” Cascio
said. “It’s much easier than what people think.”
Cascio said universities are a
good area to get volunteers
due to diversity in ethnic backgrounds.
Reeg stressed that marrow
donations from minority groups are very important and there is a great need for
She said there are currently 32,000 people across the
United States that have not found a match. She said if volunteer donors receive
a call saying they are a genetic match to someone in need, they are not
obligated to accept.
“Nothing is set in stone. You have to option to say yes
or no,” Reeg said. “You’d be surprised though. I saw
many students willing to save a life.”
Lloyd Allen, a senior mechanical engineering major,
attended the bone marrow drive.
“I thought it was a good cause. It was there to help
children out,” Allen said. Once Allen was swabbed, the process was still not
complete. Allen was willing to go the extra mile and actually donate bone
“They keep it in the database until you’re 61,” Allen
said. “I would seriously consider [donating.] I mean, you can’t say no.”
Nathan Kopay, a senior
electrical engineering major and a member of Air Force ROTC,
also attended the bone marrow drive.
“About 20 people from ROTC came to donate,” Kopay said. “It shows Tech is community-minded; people help
each other out.”
Reeg and Cascio
are both grateful to all bone marrow donors that participated in the
“Those three universities, those three communities came
together to help,” Cascio said. “Everybody was a