[CUA Office of Public Affairs]

 

February 18, 2000

CUA Student Organizes Bone Marrow Donor Drive at CUA

 

When Ann Hines was 10 years old, doctors told her she would develop leukemia if she didn’t have a bone marrow transplant. Fortunately, her 7-year-old brother was a compatible donor.

But many aren’t so lucky, said Hines, 20, a sophomore at the Catholic University of America.

Seventy percent of those diagnosed with leukemia and other fatal blood diseases can’t find a match in their family, Hines said.

"One of their only hopes is a transplant, so they turn to the National Marrow Donor Program Registry," she said. "At any given time, 3,000 people are searching the registry for a match."

Hines is hoping to give more people the same chance she had, by organizing a bone marrow donor drive at CUA. The American Red Cross will be on campus to conduct the drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, February 29, at the University Center Lounge.

Red Cross workers will be taking blood samples from potential donors for testing to see if their marrow would be suitable for donation. The testing process usually costs $80 per potential donor, but Hines has gathered $2,650 in donations to help offset that cost for her cash-strapped fellow students.

Hines has been cancer-free since she was treated a decade ago. After undergoing her transplant, she was required to stay in isolation for a year to protect her fragile immune system. After four months, a tutor was allowed to come into her room and Hines managed to keep up with her class at St. Peter’s Elementary School. She went on to graduate from Immaculate High School in her hometown of Danbury, Conn.

Today, she’s studying biology and is considering a career in medicine. In the meantime, she’s following a family tradition of trying to help others. Hines’ mother, also named Ann, is a physician who runs a clinic for uninsured families. Her father, Paul, is the coordinator of a Danbury-area homeless shelter and soup kitchen who has organized two bone marrow donor drives at Connecticut State University, where he is a professor of organic chemistry.

The value of public service was definitely stressed to the couple’s children at an early age, Hines said.

"I can’t be on the donor registry myself, because I had cancer," Hines said. "But organizing the drive is something I can do to help. It just seemed logical."

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