BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY

BYU student donates bone marrow to potentially save stranger’s life

May 20, 2024, 6:00 AM

BYU nursing student Jane Pearson smiles before donating her bone marrow in late 2023....

BYU nursing student Jane Pearson smiles before donating her bone marrow in late 2023. (Jane Pearson)

(Jane Pearson)

PROVO — Jane Pearson was river rafting in Moab last summer when she got an unexpected phone call.

“Hey, you’ve been matched with someone, are you still interested?” she remembers the voice asking. The caller was National Marrow Donor Program — formerly Be the Match — and Pearson was definitely interested.

Three years prior, she joined the bone marrow registry at a BYU club meeting by sending in a swab from inside her cheek that would potentially match her with a stranger in need of a lifesaving bone marrow or stem cell transplant.

Finding a viable match is a difficult road for most patients, as 70% of people don’t have a fully matched donor in their family. By cultivating a massive catalog of volunteer donors — more than 9 million in the United States, alone — the national program hopes to up patients’ odds.

Pearson opted in. This meant 20 to 25 hours of preparation, including multiple blood tests, physical exams, a chest X-ray, paperwork, etc. — all during her final semester as a nursing student at BYU.

Interestingly, BYU students on the bone marrow registry have a higher chance of matching (about one in 50) than the average donor (one in 200).

Read the full story and more from Emma Everett Johnson on KSL.com.

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BYU student donates bone marrow to potentially save stranger’s life