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Panel Discussion to Answer Questions in Preparation for March 3 Bone Marrow Registry Drive at UW-Eau Claire

RELEASED: Feb. 10, 2009

EAU CLAIRE — In preparation for a March 3 Bone Marrow Registration Drive at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, an informational panel discussion will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Feb. 16 in the Davies Theatre in Davies Center. Students, faculty, staff and community members are encouraged to bring their lunches and have their questions answered about how to save a life by signing up to be a bone marrow donor.

Introducing the panel speakers will be Dr. Asha Sen, widow of mathematics professor and social activist Dr. Eberth Alarcón, who died from a rare form of leukemia in September 2006. While fighting his cancer, Alarcón and Sen discovered that it is much more difficult for people with minority heritage to find bone marrow donor matches. It was learning this that prompted Sen and UW-Eau Claire graduate student Nichole Ray to help work toward setting up this panel and the bone marrow registry drive. Ray's father, Lt. Col. Frank Tall Dog Duran, died from multiple myeloma before finding a matching bone marrow donor. People with even a small percentage of blood from a minority ethnic group are being especially encouraged to sign the registry, but many more Caucasian donors are always needed as well.

"We would like to honor Dr. Alarcón and other members of our campus community like Dr. Andrew Balas and UW-Eau Claire graduate J.J. Lehmann who have fought and continue to fight against cancer by supporting the National Marrow Donor Program's efforts to recruit minority as well as Caucasian donors," Sen said.

Kyle and Meg Buchmann
Kyle and Meg Buchmann

Panel speakers will include UW-Eau Claire alumnus and major gifts officer for the UW-Eau Claire Foundation Kyle Buchmann and his younger sister, Meg Buchmann, now a high school senior. Kyle recovered from a several years' battle with leukemia after receiving a bone marrow donation from his sister, then only 13 years old, in 2003.

Also on the panel will be retired wildlife biologist John Cole, who worked with his wife, Sherry, to encourage more than 600 people in the Dunn County area to sign the registry after their good friend James Forster, a Menomonie conservationist, was diagnosed with leukemia. A perfect match could not be found in time to save Forster, who died last month.

Rounding out the panel will be National Marrow Donor Program representative John Pawloski, who will answer questions about the need for donors and the donor process.

The actual bone marrow registration drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 3 in the Oneida and Ho-Chunk Rooms of the Davies Center as part of Second Annual Eberth Alarcón Peace and Justice Lecture Series. The process takes only minutes, and those interested in donating may come any time during those hours.

The drive is sponsored by UW-Eau Claire Staff and Faculty for Peace and Justice; Sigma Tau Delta; Native American Student Association; Hmong Student Association; Office of Multicultural Affairs; UW-Eau Claire's English, history and mathematics departments; Black Students Association; Kappa Mu Epsilon; College of Arts and Sciences Diversity Advisory Committee; Office of the Provost; UW-Eau Claire chapter of Colleges Against Cancer; Latin American Studies Program; Latin American Studies Club; Center for International Education; and the Latin American Sustainability, Education and Development student group.

See the Staff and Faculty for Peace and Justice Web site for information about the UW-Eau Claire drive or the National Marrow Donor Program Web site for more information about the program. Or contact Sen at 715-836-2732 or sena@uwec.edu.

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NW/AH

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