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Marrow Donor Drive Conducted at School


Responding to last month's death of leukemia victim Michelle Carew, two sisters who attend Santa Margarita Catholic High School had a marrow drive on campus Monday.

The daylong event attracted more than 75 students, faculty and parents who had their blood tested and were registered as marrow donors by the American Red Cross.

"We want to help ensure that other families don't lose a mother, daughter or anyone else to diseases that are now curable," said Juliana Brutoco,16.

Juliana and her 18-year-old sister, Marisa, came up with the idea for the drive last week.

With the help of classmates, the two girls visited all senior religion classes to generate support for the event. They explained to the students how the marrow program works and that donors must be at least 18 years of age and in good general health.

"We decided it was a good way to get 18-year-olds informed about it," Marisa said.

The sisters first became involved in the National Marrow Donor Program in 1989 when their mother was found to have leukemia.

Their mother was cured by a marrow transplant.

"Our mom lived because a stranger in Louisiana donated his marrow," Juliana said.

"Michelle Carew died because she was not so fortunate."

The people tested Monday will be included in a national marrow donor registry, where they will remain until matched with a patient.

Should that occur, the volunteer will be asked to donate marrow.

"This is the first student-initiated marrow donor drive we have done," said Red Cross representative Helen Rodriguez, who supervised the drive.

Marisa said she hopes the bone marrow drive will become an annual event on campus.

She also said that next year she plans to organize a marrow drive at Stanford University, where she will be enrolled as a freshman in the fall.

For more information about the National Marrow Donor Program, call (800) MARROW-2.

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