Blood cancer, leukemia, as well as other varieties of this cancer type, already has a cure available…bone marrow transplant. Although this seems like it is hopeful, the issue remains that many cancer patients are unable to find a donor that matches their needs.
Teens, especially college students, are especially sought because they serve an important function to the bone marrow registry. Their collective health and diversity are both important factors in considering whether a bone marrow donation will be a match or not.
When these teens and young adults realized them, they have collectively stated, “Enough with the hope already – it’s time for action.” College students across the U.S. are launching a campaign in the month of October called “Don’t Hope. Act.”
These young people want to urge their peers to join the Be The Match Registry, which is the national database of willing bone marrow donors. This activism is unlike the past “armchair activism” which has been the name of the game for the many recent campaigns targeted toward millenials. This campaign is a call-to-action variety calling for the cure for blood cancer. It is not a passive Like or Retweet. It is calling for people to get out and actually do something.
This grassroots movement will help to spread an unexpected and powerful message: Hope doesn’t cure blood cancer – action does. College students are actively joining Be The Match On Campus chapters across the country and organizing rallies and other events as part of the “Don’t Hope. Act.” campaign, which will launch this week.
Through on-campus activities and a social media campaign, students are urging their peers to join the Be The Match Registry®, the national registry of people willing to donate bone marrow to patients who need a transplant. They are initiating these claims because the need for action is immediate. Every four minutes, a child or adult is diagnosed with a life-threatening blood cancer like leukemia or lymphoma. Thousands of people who could benefit from a marrow transplant search for a suitable donor each year.
“It’s of vital importance for my family that those of African heritage join the national registry,” said Bryce Wilks from Marshfield, Missouri, whose son is waiting for a bone marrow match. “For my son Judah, and others like him suffering from sickle cell and other blood diseases, the only hope is that a match will join the registry. And more than likely, their match will be someone of African descent.”
The “Don’t Hope. Act.” campaign aims to get college students and other young adults to push past passive support of the cause into tangible, life-saving action.
“A retweet doesn’t cure blood cancer and a like on Facebook doesn’t save lives,” said Elizabeth Jordan Truby, the national collegiate programs manager for Be The Match®. “It’s time to move beyond hope. We believe that when college students ask other young adults to take action, they will answer the call and be the cure for blood cancer.”
Be The Match On Campus, a nationwide network of student organizations at more than 70 colleges and universities, kicked off the campaign with a video that pokes fun at “viral videos” and Internet sensations that garner tons of views and a lot of laughs but don’t accomplish anything meaningful. The students are sharing photos, videos and other information on social channels and a Tumblr site at DontHopeAct.org, aiming not only to capture the attention of young adults but also drive them to take action.
“When it comes to blood cancer, there’s no need to hope for a cure—it’s already here,” said Denisse Aquino, a student who leads the Be The Match On Campus chapter at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. “We’re telling students that people with blood cancer don’t need your hope. They need your action.”
The “Don’t Hope. Act.” movement culminates with the first-ever Cheek Week from October 13th through October 17th, when students will host rallies, marrow registry drives and fundraising events to spread their life-saving message. Joining the marrow registry takes just a few minutes and involves a simple swab of the cheek.
“My daughter, Ava, is alive today for one reason—because a selfless young woman named Michelle took the simple action of joining the Be The Match Registry,” said Janet Waters from Redondo Beach, California, whose child underwent a successful marrow transplant at age 1 in 2011. “My family is forever grateful, and I wish with all my heart that more people will join the registry and make the cure available to everyone in need.”
For more information about the “Don’t Hope. Act.” campaign, visit DontHopeAct.org.