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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I Learned A Lot After Jean Shopping, Biggest Thing Being That I'm More Than Just My Pant Size

We've all been there.

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Monday, I went jean shopping with my boyfriend for the first time in probably a year and a half. Jeans that fit me last school year couldn't even button and having clothes in my room that didn't fit me from the waist down was creating a mental toll on me. We've all been there.

My whole life I haven't liked the size I am even when I was two sizes smaller. I have bigger hips and somewhat of a butt, and everything either goes to my hips, boobs, or stomach when I gain weight. (The hips and boob part are a blessing and a curse.) In high school I had all these exercise-type activities, I had musicals and show choir that would make me winded and then I pretty much ate two meals a day and just munched. Being busy kept me smaller, but why isn't that working now? Oh right, that is just undereating and not being healthy.

I have had five knee surgeries that have kept me from exercising like I used to, or how everyone else does in the gym. I can't run and walking only gets you so far and if I'm honest it's kind of boring. I do work out dance videos in my dorm room by myself, but my knee hates me the next day. I can't use my knee surgeries as an excuse, but it is also my reality.

Things are going to come to me harder than others and I'm going to have to improvise.

That's what I've learned in my movement class. I have to improvise and find another way to do something without hurting myself but will still give me the same burn and effect. Who knew this class would give me a new insight into how I treat hurdles in my life.

Another reason why I have gained weight is that I lost one of the most important people in my life and food has been comforting at times. And at times, I mean at the wake, and the funeral. And at times I mean the desserts at dinner, I can't say no to a chocolate chip cookie and I should if I want to lose weight. If I want to meet my goal.

I have a weight goal, I want to go back to the weight I was before my knee surgeries. That's a lot, to be honest, and I try to ignore that goal. What's the point of ignoring a goal if it's a goal? The point is ignoring an unhealthy goal. It's not unrealistic but it's unhealthy to put that much pressure on myself, on the scale I step onto, and on the number I want to reach.

If I don't weigh a specific number I wish to weigh it doesn't take away from my worth.

I am still beautiful, strong, intelligent, and everyone has their own body image battles.

I'm not the only one who works out too much, not enough, or has an unhealthy relationship with food.

When I look at a piece of cake I can hear my mom's voice, "You don't need that." And I know she means well, she is just looking out for me, and me gaining weight. Yet I eat it out of spite because I'm tired of hearing her voice in my head. I'm tired of hearing her voice be the anchor of my unhealthy eating problems. She isn't the anchor of my problem with eating cake when I shouldn't, but her and other people's words have helped with the weight of my unhealthy relationship with lack of eating.

Sometimes I eat too much and sometimes I hold back and then I don't eat enough. I know this is unhealthy, but this body image problem is just another thing to add to my mental health issues. Who doesn't want to add the start of body dysmorphic disorder with anxiety, and depression? I mean, I have enough on my plate just move things around the plate to make room for another thing.

I hate that social media and the world's expectations on body image is this severe. Some people will comment on how fat someone is, and how they need to work out more. Maybe they have a thyroid disorder, Endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or a diagnosis that causes them to be unable to work out or lose weight easily. I have three out of four of those and if you looked at me you'd think I'm just a curvier heavy-set girl who just doesn't work out enough.

Losing weight and jean shopping is more than guessing your size sifting through the pants on the display, and lifting weights and acting as if you know what you're doing in the gym. Losing weight is more than looking through "thinspo" posts on Pinterest and Instagram. Losing weight is finding what works best for you while taking care of yourself mentally and physically.

Treat yourself with kindness and treat your body with kindness. You are more than your pants size and your mental health. You are more than those photoshop girls on the magazine covers and the Instagram posts with thousands of likes. You are worthy no matter what size you are.

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