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Hillel teams up with LINKS, Athletics for bone marrow drive

“Got Swabbed?” to take place Wednesday in Baker Center and men's basketball game

A new partnership between Hillel at Ohio University, OHIO Athletics and LINKS is making it easier for students to help save a life through the annual "Got Swabbed?" bone marrow drive.

This year's drive will provide students, faculty and community members two opportunities to donate cheek swab samples on Wednesday, Feb. 15. Donation stations will be set up from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Baker University Center lounge, and from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Convocation Center during the basketball game against Bowling Green.

According to the Hillel website, Ohio University currently leads the nation in campus bone marrow drives, securing the largest number of swabs from 18–26 year-olds. Hillel hopes the partnership with LINKS and Athletics will help OHIO continue that tradition, ensuring "lots of student participation from a community that has a built-in social service component at the core of its mission," said Rabbi Danielle Leshaw from Hillel.

Spectators for the Bobcats-Falcons match-up are encouraged to participate in Wednesday's drive. The game is expecting a crowd of 6,000, and Leshaw hopes to get cheek swab samples from at least 2,000 fans.

"Athletic events are a place where you can capture a larger audience," said Coordinator for Multicultural Retention Services Brandi Baker, who is overseeing LINKS' involvement with the drive. "This way, we felt we could get a lot more community and student participation."

After getting swabbed, donors' information will be entered into a national bone marrow database. Over time, donors may be notified if they are a match to help someone suffering from leukemia, other forms of cancer or anemia.

As of January 2012, more than 100 students had been identified as possible matches for people with leukemia, and 10 Ohio University students had saved lives by donating their marrow, according to Hillel's website. The cause is just one way Hillel spreads its mission of "tikkun olam," or "repairing the world."  

Click here for more information about "Got Swabbed?"