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“Get Swabbed” at bone marrow donation drive

November 1, 2011 - Shana Eatman, '12, International Affairs major, Vice-President of NU Mix (NU Multicultural Student Organization). PHOTO: Mary Knox Merrill / Northeastern University

While on co-op in Washington, D.C., last spring, Northeastern University senior Shana Eatman was deeply moved to discover that her roommate was a bone marrow match for an 8-year-old girl with leukemia.

Today, Eatman is putting that inspiration into action. She is vice president of the Northeastern University Multicultural Organization (NU MIX), a student group cosponsoring  “Get Swabbed! Save A Life: Bone Marrow Donor Drive” today, Nov. 8, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Curry Student Center. The process, which is pain free and involves donors getting their cheeks swabbed, takes about 10 minutes.

“I just want to bring more awareness to this whole issue, because there was a time when I didn’t know anything about bone marrow donation and how it can potentially save lives,” Eatman said.

The drive — which is also cosponsored by Colleges Against Cancer, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Kappa Sigma, Latin American Student Organization and the Northeastern Rugby Team — will be held in the Curry Student Center Ballroom. The groups have partnered with the national bone marrow donor center, DKMS America, to hold the drive.

NU MIX works to support the university’s multicultural community. Noting that people of color make up only 12 percent of the 7 million potential American donors, Eatman said that her group is particularly interested in spreading the word about the drive to minority and multiethnic Northeastern students.

According to the National Marrow Donor Program, more than 10,000 patients are diagnosed each year with life-threatening diseases that a marrow or cord blood transplant may help cure. About 70 percent of those in need of a transplant don’t have a matching donor within the family.

Eatman said her co-op with the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities, a Washington-based health-care policy nonprofit, fostered her interest in public health.

The international affairs major, who is pursuing minors in anthropology, political science and environmental sciences, said her Northeastern education has provided her with an interdisciplinary and global view of public policy and health.

“All of this will help me gauge what career I want to pursue in the future,” she said.

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