Delete Blood Cancer (DKMS), a national bone marrow donor recruitment program for those with blood cancer, and Emory University teamed up to make Isabella Rice’s birthday wish come true: to register as many blood marrow donors as possible and match them with children fighting blood cancer.

Rice was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in October 2013. Caran Rice, Isabella’s mother, is working with DKMS to make her daughter’s wish possible, according to an April 15 DKMS press release.

According to the press release, DKMS’s mission is to collect a group of suitable bone marrow and stem cell donors under the belief that no life should be lost due to an inability to find a donor match. DKMS itself stands for “Deutsche Knochenmarkspenderdatei,” or Bone Marrow Donor Center, since the program was founded in Germany.

The drive, which was held in the Dobbs University Center in the Coke Commons on Friday, was organized by College freshman Katrina Peed as a volunteer program for the Residence Hall Association (RHA) at residence hall Longstreet-Means.

Peed originally started working with DKMS because of her mother, who received stem cells from the registry in July for myelofibrosis, a type of blood cancer.

The point of the drive is to add healthy people between the ages of 18 and 55 to the international bone marrow donor registry, Peed said.

To register, students had to sign-up and complete a cheek swab, according to DKMS Donor Recruitment Coordinator Kimberly Duncan.

Peed said she thought the drive was a success, with 69 new registered donors from Friday.

She added that she hopes to register a few more donors before supplies are sent back next week and is aiming for 75 to 100 registered donors in total from Emory.

According to Peed, these drives are important for patients with blood diseases such as leukemia and sickle cell anemia who need a life saving transplant and can’t find one in their family.

Peed added that 75 percent of patients can’t find​ a perfect match in their family.

Peed’s mother was unable to find a match out of four siblings but luckily was able to receive new stem cells from the registry.

According to Peed, she and her family have hosted approximately 15 cheek swab drives around the country and surpassed their goal of 12,000 cheeks swabbed.

Peed added that four or five matches have been found from their drives so far, and one has already donated.

To date, DKMS has registered more than four million potential donors and has facilitated more than 40,000 transplants around the world, according to the press release.

–By Naomi Maisel

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