Be the Match wants your marrow

Stephanie Blaum

Anthony Tornese, cancer survivor, volunteers as a supporter of Be the Match's cause. Photo by Joshua Brangenberg.
Anthony Tornese, cancer survivor, volunteers as a supporter of Be the Match’s cause. Photo by Joshua Brangenberg.

UNF student Anthony Tornese was on a fishing trip with his father in 2003 when he started feeling sick. It was cancer.

Ten years later, Tornese speaks for Be the Match.

Be the Match helps patients with blood cancers receive transplants to cure their sickness.

From Feb. 25-27, there will be a blood and bone marrow drive in the Student Union.

Tornese was diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma. Chuck Russell, 12 years older than Tornese, was Tornese’s chosen donor.

The two knew nothing about each other except age and gender.

Tornese said he received Russell’s bone marrow on Sept. 13 of that year. They call it Day Zero.

“It was pretty much a waiting game from there,” Tonese said.

Christmas Eve of that year, Tornese found out he was cancer free.

He said, today, he feels able to give back and raise awareness about bone marrow transplants. Tornese and Russell still keep in contact.

Katie Briggs, an officer of the UNF Students Nurses Association, said signing up to become a donor takes filling out some paperwork and a mouth swab. Anyone between the ages of 18 to 44 can sign up.

The preferred bone marrow age is between 18 and 24, so Briggs said she hopes a large turnout of college students will sign up at the drive.

Briggs said she wants as many people to show up as possible. Even if people who signed up are called and told they are a match, they are not legally bound to donate.

Briggs said she hopes to have a Be the Match chapter on campus sometime in the future. The chapter would hold more drives like this one and would raise awareness about blood cancer.

The UNF Student Nurses Association teamed up with PRSSA and Health Promotion to bring Be the Match on campus and create this drive.

Email Stephanie Blaum at [email protected]

Be the Match helps patients with blood cancers receive transplants to cure their sickness. Photo courtesy of Facebook.