One cheek swab may save a life

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Krystal M. Garrett
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
As of Dec. 1, the laboratory section of the 1st Special Operations Medical Support Squadron is a walk-in registration site for bone marrow donors.

Prior to becoming a certified bone marrow donor registry, the 1st Special Operations Medical Group hosted bone marrow drives throughout the year, said Tech. Sgt. Daniel Ingles, NCO in charge of laboratory operations with the 1st SOMDSS.

Air Commandos now have the opportunity to register to be a donor year-round, through the Salute to Life organization.
Salute to Life serves active duty U.S. Military members of the Reserve, National Guard, Coast Guard, dependent family members and Department of Defense civilian employees.

Anyone between the ages of 18 and 60 in good health can register.

“Anyone can be put in a situation where they may need bone marrow at any time,” Ingles said. “The registry could save you or your family.”

The Salute to Life websites states that every year more than 12,000 Americans are diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, or one of the more than 50 other fatal or debilitating diseases which can be treated with an infusion of healthy bone marrow. While about 30 percent of patients can find a donor within their family, the remainder must search for an unrelated, volunteer donor.

The process, which takes no longer than 15 minutes, consists of a cheek swab and paperwork.

Master Sgt. Richard Minton, element chief of laboratory services with the 1st SOMDSS, stated that most facilities have switched over to the walk-in registry site.

“Our populace is so big and constantly moving in and out,” Minton said, “Now we can assist more people year-round during [1st SOMDG] hours.”

For more information about becoming a donor, visit the laboratory at the 1st SOMDG.