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CONTACT: TOM MOORE
Joint Office for Planning, Marketing and Communications
8788 John Pappajohn Pavilion
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 356-3945
e-mail: thomas-moore@uiowa.edu

Release: Jan. 31, 2003

Graceland University to hold donor registration drive Feb. 18

Campus Ministries at Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa, will sponsor its second annual donor registration drive for the Iowa Marrow Donor Program from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, at the Memorial Student Center on campus. The public is invited to participate.

Graceland University held its first marrow donor registration drive in 2002 to support a former student who required a transplant and needed an unrelated donor. Last year, 170 people registered to join the Iowa and national registries through this effort. As a result of that drive, one donor has provided much needed stem cells to a recipient, and another person has received additional testing to determine if a match with a patient might be possible. Graceland University is again offering the community the opportunity to save lives by registering their tissue type with the program.

The Iowa Marrow Donor Program seeks committed volunteers ages 18 to 60 and in general good health. When joining the Iowa Marrow Donor Program, a person's tissue type becomes registered as part of the Iowa and National Marrow Donor Programs' registries. Once registered, a volunteer may be called upon to donate marrow or blood stem cells to a person needing a transplant to fight a life-threatening disease. Registration is easy, requiring completion of a simple consent form and a small blood sample.

Each year, more than 30,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with diseases treatable by a stem cell transplant. Of the patients needing to receive healthy stem cells from someone else, only 30 percent have a suitable family match, leaving the additional 70 percent to rely on unrelated donors.

The Iowa Marrow Donor Program was created in 1981 at UI Hospitals and Clinics and became affiliated with the National Marrow Donor Program in 1991. On average, 25 to 30 donors are called to donate each year from the Iowa Marrow Donor Program's registry of 18,785 persons, and many more are called for further testing. Approximately 2,000 people join the Iowa and national registries each year through the Iowa Marrow Donor Program.

For more information about the Feb. 18 donor drive or to receive application forms, call the Iowa Marrow Donor Program toll free at (800) 944-8220 or locally at (319) 356-3337. For more information regarding the Iowa Marrow Donor Program, contact Debra Hoyle, membership coordinator of the Iowa Marrow Donor Program, by e-mail at debra-hoyle@uiowa.edu. Information about the program also can be found online at www.iowamarrow.org.

For more information about Graceland University or Campus Ministries, contact Blake Smith at (641) 784-5466.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at www.uihealthcare.com.