Gift of Life Marrow Registry, an international bone marrow registry, has celebrated World Marrow Donor Day (WMDD) by achieving to set the Guinness World Records title for largest cotton swab. In addition, the organization’s Campus Ambassadors will run bone marrow recruitment drives at their respective colleges and universities worldwide.
The official attempt to set the Guinness World Records title took place on September 17 in Columbus Circle in New York City at 10:30 a.m. Gift of Life advocates who attended were CEO and Founder Jay Feinberg, Chairman Bill Begal, campus ambassadors, marrow donors and volunteers. The cotton swab was chosen to represent the implement used to rub the inside lining of the inner cheek which gathers cells of potential volunteer donors.
Gift of Life’s Campus Ambassador Program (CAP), which includes more than 100 college students, from California to Israel, aims to register thousands of students via a simple cheek swab during this global bone marrow drive. Through WMDD, Gift of Life not only hopes to add names to the marrow registry, but will also work to educate the public on the need to increase the ethnic background of donors in the registry.
“The best chance of finding a genetic match lies with those of similar race and ethnicity,” said Feinberg, a 21-year leukemia survivor. “On World Marrow Donor Day and year-round, we strive to increase the diversity of the Gift of Life registry so that more patients are able to find matching donors.”
Gift of Life is a member of the World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA), a global association of blood stem cell, marrow and/or cord blood registries. WMDA is the originator of WMDD. Following last year’s successful inaugural celebration of the day, WMDA decided to continue thanking donors and highlighting the global cooperation in blood stem cell transplantation worldwide on the 3rd Saturday of September annually.
Over 50,000 patients per year look for a matched donor outside their family. Nearly 50% of the patients that find a donor find his or her perfectly matched donor in another country. This year, in celebration of 28 million donors representing 55 different countries, events are being organized all over the world on September 17 to thank donors.