SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — College students in Sioux Falls organized a drive so people could sign up for Be The Match marrow registry. They’re trying to help a North Dakota father and veteran find a lifesaving match for a stem cell transplant. Tonight, a look at why so many young people in the region are stepping up to help.
“I first found out scrolling through social media, I donate blood through Vitalant and it’s just a good fit so I registered,” Myles Schmaltz said.
Augustana Sophomore Myles Schmaltz says he chose to sign up for Be the Match because he knows he has a good chance of one day being a life saving match for someone else.
“I specifically signed up because I’m O negative blood type, so that’s like the universal donor. I just think I have a greater chance of helping other people out,” Schmaltz said.
“Last year they came to campus and I got my swab and I got registered in the system,” Augustana Sophomore Savanna Osowski said.
Other local students signed up to help because of a more personal connection.
“I found out about Be the Match because my mom was actually the recipient of a stem cell transplant in 2017,” Osowski said.
It’s why Augustana Sophomore Savanna Osowski is such an advocate for helping more of her peers sign up for Be the Match so they might one day get the call to help someone else.
“I would happily accept, we had a young gentleman from Germany who gave my mom her stem cell transplant. So they can come from anywhere in the world. I’d be happy to help anybody and give them the gift of life that they gave my family,” Osowski said.
It’s the same gift Jason, a North Dakota father and veteran, is desperately in need of today to help survive his battle with blood cancer. One 10 second swab is all it takes to help see if you could be a match to help save the life of someone just like Jason.
“There’s just so much opportunity there for people to do anything, all it is is swabbing your cheek, that’s all you have to do and then you get put in the registry,” Osowski said.
Once you’re matched, the donation of bone marrow will require more than a swab, but Savanna says her family is proof, its well worth it.
“Some of my friends are like, they’re scared of needles or something if they ever have to donate their stem cells, but I just tell them, think about the lives you’re saving. My mom is here because of something like that. A little needle is nothing compared to saving an entire family,” Osowski said.
Because Jason’s need is so urgent, local Be The Match volunteers are really pushing for more people to sign up and join the registry now. You can join the Be the Match Registry right from your home; visit their website to find out how.