Update: Members of the Hofstra community donated 300 pints of blood, far exceeding organizers’ goal of 220. The donations will help 900 recipients in the local area. Fifty new bone marrow registrations were collected as well.
Hofstra’s March 8th spring blood drive – Multipurpose Room, Mack Student Center, 8 am-8 pm – will include a search for a bone marrow match for a 10-year-old Long Island boy suffering from blood cancer.
Jackson Edwards, the nephew of alumna DeeDee Edwards ’93, was first diagnosed with leukemia in December 2013 and underwent many months of hospitalization and treatment. After two-and-a-half years of remission, his cancer has returned and he is now in need of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.
“Jackson needs a miracle and I know together we will pray and hope for the best possible outcome for him,” said Rocco Del Greco ’93, a family friend who is organizing several bone marrow donor drives. “Every person willing to take a simple mouth swab test brings us one step closer to finding a match that could save Jackson’s life. And, if you’re not a match for Jackson, you might be a match for someone else in need. Thirty seconds of your time can truly save a life.”
Organizers hope a potential match can be found among Hofstra’s diverse community, as ethnicity plays a large role in the inherited markers that are used to determine the best matches. Jackson’s background includes Italian, German, Native American, Haitian, Jamaican, Dominican and Asian ancestry. So far, no match greater than 50 percent has been found for the fifth grader, who lives in Port Jefferson Station with his mother, brother, and grandmother.
Testing involves having the inside of the cheek swabbed for a sample of cells which will be sent to the “Be The Match” Registry, the largest bone marrow registry in the world. The cell sample will then be analyzed to see if it has the same protein markers as someone awaiting a transplant.
In addition, the Pride Network, which represents LGBTQ+ students on campus, will sponsor a “Buddy Blood Drive” in which students who are unable to donate blood can bring a friend who will donate on their behalf. The initiative will have an information table in the Student Center Atrium as well as by the entrance to the Multipurpose Room.
Blood donations will help many of the almost 2,000 men, women and children in the regional area who are in need of blood transfusions every day. Since blood can only be preserved for 42 days, area hospitals continually face high demand to replenish supplies. One pint of blood is separated into components that can save several lives.
Those in need of blood donations include cancer patients, accident, burn, or trauma victims, newborn babies and mothers delivering babies, transplant recipients, surgery patients, and chronically transfused patients suffering from sickle cell disease or thalassemia, notes Doreen Fiscina, of Long Island Blood Services, the regional division of the New York Blood Center.
Walk-ins are welcome, or donor appointments can be made by emailing Elizabeth Lorentzen. A valid photo ID is required.