In April 2015, Mackenna Drazich, a sophomore public relations major, attended a health fair at Waynesburg University, not knowing that it would forever change both her life and someone else’s.
At the fair, which was held in conjunction with the football team’s annual “Be the Match” event, Drazich signed up for the National Bone Marrow Registry. The hope is to find a match for patients that are in need of a bone marrow transplant.
Several months after joining the registry, Drazich received a phone call saying she was a potential match. After receiving the news, Drazich went through further testing, and was soon notified that she was indeed a match.
“I had mixed feelings about having some pain and having surgery for the first time in my life, but it was still the easiest decision of my life,” Drazich said. “I was going to save this person’s life.”
Drazich went through a number of tests to ensure that she was the best match for the recipient. The bone marrow was extracted from the hipbones through the lower back.
“The surgery went great,” said Drazich. “I walked around very slowly for the next couple of days and got tired easily.”
In a month’s time, Drazich’s bone marrow will regenerate, and she said she felt about 75 percent of her normal self at ten-days post surgery.
“I am forever changed and humbled to be chosen to do such a thing,” added Drazich. “I give credit to my mom for instilling me with a love to do God’s work in serving others.”
The recipient is a woman with Leukemia, and after she receives the bone marrow, she and Drazich will essentially have identical immune systems. The recipient will undergo intense chemotherapy, in hopes that her body will accept Drazich’s bone marrow.
This was the second annual Be the Match drive hosted by Waynesburg University football team. Be the Match On Campus is a national program that encourages college- age students to have recruitment drives for the National Marrow Donor Program. The event educates students on Be the Match’s mission to help patients get the transplant they need to save their life.
The football team’s event successfully registered 163 students.
Visit bethematch.org for more information or to sign up for the National Marrow Donor Program.