Fresno State will observe Blood Cancer Awareness Month by participating in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Turn It Red Campaign and lighting up the Shehadey Tower at the Save Mart Center at 5 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9.
Participating local organizers will meet early Wednesday morning at the tower located at Shaw and Chestnut avenues to kick off the month-long observance. The University’s first blood drive of the academic year will be Sept. 15-17, and will include a bone marrow donor registry event Sept. 16-17.
For Blood Cancer Awareness month, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society national campaign has engaged several iconic national landmarks that will be lit red to raise awareness, such as Niagara Falls in New York, the Seattle Great Wheel and towers and bridges like Peace Bridge on the border of New York and Canada.
California landmarks include the LAX Pylons at the Los Angeles International Airport, the U.S. Bank Tower on Capital Mall in Sacramento and 1 Market Street in San Francisco. (See full landmarks updated list).
Local and campus awareness of the need for marrow registrants and blood donation has generated steam since the Justin Garza campaign last year for the Fresno State alumnus. The Central High School football coach is a Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor who had a marrow transplant last year and is currently recuperating.
Through the efforts of Garza and other volunteers, more than 2,000 people joined the national Be the Match marrow registry; with nearly 700 joining at a Fresno State drive in fall 2014. Garza‘s family lives in Fresno and is active with Leukemia and Lymphoma Society campaigns, Be The Match and the Central California Blood Center.
About one in 500 people who join the registry will be called upon to donate. Fresno State student Jonathan Benson was called to be a marrow donor in the spring after joining the registry on campus last fall. Benson, a senior majoring in environmental sciences, donated marrow for an infant diagnosed with chronic granulomatous, an immune system disorder. He will be featured in the upcoming fall issue of Fresno State Magazine.
The on-campus marrow registry drive also led to the creation of a Be the Match On Campus chapter at Fresno State (www.bethematchfoundation.org/goto/fresnostate) this fall spearheaded by Tosha Giuffrida, interim director of the University’s Learning Center, who coordinated the Garza drive last year.
“This new student organization will work directly with Be The Match to educate students about blood cancers and joining the marrow registry,” Giuffrida said.
They will conduct marrow registry events in conjunction with each campus blood drive. The blood drive next week, coordinated by the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning, will kick off Tuesday, Sept. 15 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. in the University Dining Hall and continue Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 16-17 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Bloodmobiles will be parked near the University Student Union, Maple Mall and Kremen Education building.
For more information about Fresno State’s Turn It Red event or the student chapter, contact Giuffrida at 559.278.5716 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and its national campaign, contact Korina Mendoza at 559.490.6943 or email@example.com. For the Fresno State blood drives contact Renee Delport at 559.278.7063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.