Be The Match

Be The Match

"You could be the person to save someone's life." -Marc Silver
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Have you ever wondered what you could do to make a difference in the world? Well, there's a solution to your problem. Be The Match.

Last Wednesday, Marc Silver, Senior Community Engagement Representative of Be The Match, visited Dr. Bowen's Communication Ethics class. I just so happen to be in this class and was extremely curious as to what he was saying about this organization.

Be The Match is a non-profit organization whose goal is to find people who are a perfect match for someone who needs a bone marrow transplant. Silver's goal is to recruit 3,300 people each year, but he always recruits more than this.

Each year, Be The Match finds roughly 6800 matches for people who need a transplant. I know what you're thinking. Is it painful? The answer is no. Silver, in a phone call interview last Thursday, said most people believe it to be painful because of television. He gave specific examples, such as "Seven Pounds" and "House".

The bone marrow transplant is simple. There are two ways to take out bone marrow (T cells). The first way is Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC). This is basically like having your blood drawn, except they spin the the white and red blood cells, and inject them back in your body. The only thing they are taking out are T cells. They give you medicine to produce the T cells faster, therefore it's not harmful to you. More than 80% of bone marrow transplants are done this way.

The other way to donate bone marrow is through surgery. They go in and take bone marrow from your hip. While this is more painful than the PBSC, it's still not as bad as TV makes it out to be.

I asked Silver what his favorite memory of a donor and a patient meeting was, and he replied, "Asking me that is like asking someone who their favorite kid is."

There are currently 14,000 people looking for their perfect match, and over 30 million people in the database to be a donor. Be The Match needs more people to sign up. Why should you sign up? "You could be the one person to save someone's life," Silver said.

Every case is different. You can lengthen someone's life for 20 years or 2, but even so, you've given them a lifetime. All expenses are paid for when you donate, so there's nothing to be worried about when it comes to money.

Silver says that previous donors have told him it was "no big deal" and that they would "do it again in a heartbeat." It's very rare to find a match, so the more people in the system, the better.

To sign up for Be The Match, go to their website at BeTheMatch.org. You'll receive a kit in the mail, where you'll be asked to swab your cheek. You will then send it back in the mail, where they will then put you in their database. PLEASE DO NOT SIGN UP IF YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO GET BLOOD DRAWN.

If you are lucky enough to be someone's match, you will get a phone call.

Be The Match has a club here at the University of South Florida. If you are interested in joining, look them up on BullSync.

If you have any questions regarding Be The Match, you can contact Marc Silver at (727) 348-5060 or at msilver2@nmdp.org.
Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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I Am 9,170 Miles Away But I Still Choose To Stand In Solidarity With The People Of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has its own flaws and imperfections, but what I've learned is that even on our darkest days, no one can take away faith and solidarity.

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April 21, 2019. Easter Sunday.

I was devastated to wake up on Sunday morning to a series of missed calls and texts from friends asking whether my friends and family were affected by the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka. I was shocked to read all of the news about the bombings in various churches and hotels that I'd visited on my trips to Sri Lanka. I remember wandering around the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in middle school hoping to get a glimpse of internationally famous cricket players like Lasith Malinga and Kumar Sangakkara.

Now, this hotel where I associated happy memories of staying up until 5 a.m. to watch the World Cup and running around with my brother is one of the 6 locations in Sri Lanka that was bombed on Easter.

Sri Lanka is a country that most of my peers have never heard of. It brings a smile to my face when I'm able to talk about the amazing experiences I've had on this island nation. I'm able to talk about how I almost got run over by an elephant during a safari in Yala National Park, how I took surfing lessons at Arugam Bay, and how I climbed all the way up Mount Sigiriya when I was 4 years old. All of these experiences have shown me the beauty of the people, the nature, the animals, and the culture of Sri Lanka. While there is so much to appreciate, there is also so much to acknowledge about its recent history.

In 2009, the 30-year civil war finally came to an end. I remember going to my parents' room when I was nine, and watching live streams of people in the streets celebrating that the war had finally ended. This was a war that caused the majority of my family to flee the country to avoid the violence and destruction. Now, almost ten years after the war ended, there was a coordinated attack on churches and hotels that led to the murder of over 300 innocent citizens and wounded around 500 people.

Sri Lanka isn't perfect, but it's roots and culture have made me who I am today. Even though I wasn't alive during the majority of the war, it has left a lasting impact on my family. My mom had to go by herself to Russia, without any prior Russian language experience, to avoid being in the middle of the war. She now speaks English, Russian, Tamil, and Sinhalese. I had other family members who fled to places like New Zealand, Nigeria, Canada, and Australia.

Because of the war, I have family all over the world who can speak Mandarin, Arabic, Dutch, Malay, French, Russian, and so many more languages. Being Sri Lankan has given me an international perspective on the world around me and has given me the insight to look past cultural differences. Instead of going to shopping malls with my cousins like my friends in the US do, I meander through bazaars in Singapore and Malaysia or go dune-bashing in the United Arab Emirates.

When people look at me, they never think that my last name could be Paul. Shouldn't it be something that is hard to pronounce or something much longer? My last name dates back to 1814 when missionaries from Williams College traveled all the way to villages in the Northern parts of Sri Lanka to share God's love. My great great great grandfather studied in one of the many Christian schools and his faith has been passed down from generation to generation. No matter how dark things got during the war, faith is what kept my family going.

Though Sri Lanka has faced adversity over the years, it continues to grow stronger. Through violence, hurricanes, government corruption, and internal conflicts, Sri Lanka continues to push through. Sri Lanka has its own flaws and imperfections, but what I've learned is that even on our darkest days, no one can take away faith and solidarity.

So today—9,170 miles away—I stand with the people of Sri Lanka.

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