Bone Marrow Donor Drive being held in honor of late U of I student

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CHAMPAIGN - Community Blood Services of Illinois and Be the Match officials say they are hosting a bone marrow donor drive on March 15 in honor of a University of Illinois student who passed away from complications related to a rare blood disorder.

This donor drive aims to bring in as many central Illinois residents as possible to join the Be The Match bone marrow donor registry and possibly save lives.  The drive will be held the Illini Union and College of ACES' Funk Library on the University of Illinois' Urbana-Champaign campus from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Additionally, potential donors may register at the Community Blood Services of Illinois' blood center in Urbana.  You may also register online, beginning on February 22. 

Potential donors who wish to join the registry must be between the ages of 18 and 44, must be willing to donate to anyone in need, and must be healthy and meet guidelines.  The chances of being a match are one in 500, and there are two ways to donate if you are a match; either through stem cells or through bone marrow.

Be The Match officials say donors could help save the lives of patients who are battling Leukemia, Lymphoma, Aplastic Anemia, Sickle Cell Anemia, and other deadly diseases.

Officials say the drive is being held in honor of Jon Hustedt, a Biotechnology student at the University of Illinois who passed away in August 2015.  Hustedt was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia and Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria in June 2013, which eventually turned into Monosomy 7 Myelodysplastic Syndrome, a fatal condition that requires a bone marrow transplant.

Jon received a bone marrow transplant with a 10/10 HLA match in June 2015, with a bone marrow biopsy in July 2015 providing good news; that 98 percent of Jon's bone marrow consisted of donor cells.  However, Jon was diagnosed with Graft Versus Host Disease, in which the donor's white blood cells start to attack the transplant recipient's body.  Jon passed away on August 29 due to complications from GVHD.

Jon's parents are raising awareness of, and encouraging potential donors to join, the registry so that other will not have to endure the pain that Jon did.

For more information about Be The Match, click here.

Photo of Jon Hustedt courtesy of: Greg Taylor Photography

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