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Gift of Life Campaign registers 1,123 potential donors; alumna donates marrow on same day
Gift of Life Campaign registers 1,123 potential donors; alumna donates marrow on same dayNovember 13, 2007Cynthia J. Moritzcjmoritz@syr.edu
The Gift of Life campaign sponsored by Hillel at Syracuse University was a record-breaking success. The 1,123 participants, who swabbed their mouths to add to the national registry for marrow donors, nearly tripled the previous record for college campus registrations.
“The event was an overwhelming success,” says Brian Small, Hillel’s coordinator of programming and special initiatives. “We exceeded our goal of 1,000 people, coordinated one of the largest volunteer groups in recent school history, and may have helped saved lives in the process.”
Arriving safely at the Gift of Life headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., on Nov. 5, the swabbing kits collected at SU as a part of the Gift of Life program are ready to be processed for the purpose of finding potential matches.
“What was especially great about the campaign was the attention we brought to the issue,” Small continues. “We really increased awareness, on campus and in the Syracuse area, about the cause. We created a real buzz with our `You Got Swabbed’ T-shirts and the amazing amount of media exposure we received.”
In an unexpected coincidence, Hillel learned that Lillian Baharestani, the student coordinator of the 2004 Gift of Life campaign at Syracuse University, provided a bone marrow transfusion for a young child on the same day as SU’s record-breaking drive. Baharestani, who was at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City on the day of the Syracuse campaign, coordinated the registration of more than 200 people in 2004.
“We are going to invite Ms. Baharestani to Syracuse to meet with our 150 student volunteers and others who would like to hear her story,” Lowell H. Lustig, Hillel’s executive director, says. “It would be an honor to have her back to campus and quite a follow-up to the program. We can show the students, and others who participated, that Gift of Life works in amazing ways.”
“Obviously, we hope for a match from the Syracuse drive,” Small says. “That would be an amazing result. But we are also very thankful for the opportunity Gift of Life created to bring together a community of caring individuals that accomplished something bigger, together, than they ever could have done individually.”