Organized by Bowdoin athletics and the McKeen Center, the drive was “massively successful,” said Andrew Lardie, the McKeen Center’s associate director for service and leadership. Set up in Morrell Lounge, staff from Delete Blood Cancer swabbed people’s cheeks from noon to 8 p.m. on Jan. 30.
Lardie said that Bowdoin’s athletic teams and coaches, in particular football coach Dave Caputi and baseball coach Mike Connolly, were behind the drive’s success. Athletes got swabbed by the hundreds.
It is important to attract a big turnout to a bone marrow drive, Lardie explained, because the chances of a potential donor being a match to a recipient is less than one percent.
According to Delete Blood Cancer, thousands of patients with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases depend on finding donors who can save their lives, but they need donors who are a close genetic match. Generally younger donors are preferred, making a college campus a good place to run a registration drive.
Prior to the one-day drive, Delete Blood Cancer held a pep rally in Pickard Theater for around 300 students, most of them athletes. A representative from the organization also met with team captains to educate them about donating bone marrow.