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Texas A&M-Kingsville students rally to save lives with bone marrow drive

Posted on Monday, February 10, 2020

Be the Cure

Be the Cure

KINGSVILLE (February 10, 2020) — Texas A&M University-Kingsville students can potentially save the life of a cancer patient by joining the Be The Match Registry during GenCure’s fifth annual Be The Cure On Campus marrow registry drive Feb. 17-19.

 

The drive is in honor of Lou Gonzalez, an A&M-Kingsville student who passed away in his junior year after a long battle with leukemia.

 

“Lou is no longer here, so this is my mission,” said Cindie Barrera Deleon, Lou’s mother. “I don’t want any other parent to feel the way that I did.”

 

GenCure, a subsidiary of San Antonio-based BioBridge Global, works with Be The Match to find potential donors in South Texas.

 

Every person who joins the Be The Match Registry gives hope to blood cancer patients. For many patients fighting leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood cancers and blood diseases, a stem cell or marrow transplant is their best hope for a cure. Just 30% of patients find a match from within their family.

 

Most patients turn to the Be The Match Registry in hopes of finding an unrelated donor who closely matches the genetic tissue typing of their immune system, which is inherited from a person’s ethnic background. However, only 7% of the current registry is made up of donors who are of Hispanic descent, leaving many Hispanic patients, including Lou, with no available matches on the registry.

 

“Having a child go through this battle and to never get the news that he had a match, it’s devastating,” Deleon said.

 

Instead, Lou received a matching cord blood transplant, which includes stem cells collected from umbilical cord blood. He relapsed soon after and received a 50% matched marrow transplant from his father. After two years of battling cancer, Lou passed away in June 2018.

 

Texas A&M-Kingsville students can join the registry by visiting one of GenCure’s sign-up tables from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday through Wednesday, Feb. 17-19. Tables will be located at:

  • Memorial Student Union Building (First Floor)
  • Outside the Javelina Dining Hall
  • Outside the Jernigan Library
  • Dotterweich College of Engineering Building
  • Fine Arts Quad

 

Since the program began at A&M-Kingsville in 2016, more than 1,700 students have joined the Be the Match Registry. This year’s drive aims to add 300 potential marrow or stem cell donors to the registry.

 

For Deleon, every person who signs up for the registry fulfills her mission.

 

“I want anyone fighting this to hear that wonderful, amazing news that ‘We found a perfect match for you,’” she said.

 

Potential donors must be between the ages of 18-44 to register, in general good health, and have no history of or current serious illnesses. Those who sign up will be on the registry until they are 61. More information about the registry is available at GenCure.org/BeTheMatch.

 

Media Opportunities: For interviews with Cindie Deleon prior to the drive, contact Leticia Mondragon. Cindie will be available for interviews on Feb. 17 from 10 a.m.-noon at the bookstore in front of the Student Union. Footage of sign-up tables.

 

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About GenCure: GenCure, a subsidiary of San Antonio-based nonprofit BioBridge Global, is focused on enabling the development of cell-based therapies by providing access to source materials, cGMP biomanufacturing experience and clinical research support. GenCure focuses on regenerative medicine through the Texas Cord Blood Bank, a biomanufacturing facility, an apheresis center and a deceased donor tissue bank. Learn more at GenCure.org.

 

About Be The Match®
For people with life-threatening blood cancers—like leukemia and lymphoma—or other diseases, a cure exists. Be The Match connects patients with their donor match for a life-saving marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant. People can contribute to the cure as a member of the Be The Match Registry®, financial contributor or volunteer. Be The Match provides patients and their families one-on-one support, education, and guidance before, during and after transplant.

Be The Match is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), a nonprofit organization that matches patients with donors, educates health care professionals and conducts research through its research program, CIBMTR® (Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research®), so more lives can be saved. To learn more about the cure, visit BeTheMatch.org or call 1-800-MARROW-2.

 

-TAMUK-

Category: General Univ

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Contact

Julie Navejar
 Email
 361-593-2590


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