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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 6, 2003

Simpson College To Hold First Marrow Donor Drive Nov. 11

Simpson College in Indianola will hold its first marrow donor registration drive from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, in the Brenton Student Center Camp Lounge. The public is invited to participate.

Inspiration to hold a donor drive comes from Simpson College Assistant Men's Basketball Coach Steve Ellens. Physicians diagnosed Ellens with a form of leukemia in May 2002. Currently in remission, he will need a transplant should his current therapy fail. Ellens' two siblings are not matches for him, and he knows that he will rely on the donor registry for an unrelated, matched donor.

November is National Marrow Donor Awareness Month, which prompted organizers to schedule the drive at this time.

The Iowa Marrow Donor Program seeks committed volunteers, ages 18 to 60 and in general good health. When joining the Iowa Marrow Donor Program, a person's tissue type becomes registered as part of the Iowa and National Marrow Donor Programs' registries. Once registered, a volunteer may be called upon to donate marrow or blood stem cells to a person needing a transplant to fight a life-threatening disease. Registration is easy, requiring completion of a simple consent form and a small blood sample.

Each year, more than 30,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with diseases treatable by a stem cell transplant. Of the patients needing to receive healthy stem cells from someone else, only 30 percent have a suitable family match, leaving the additional 70 percent to rely on unrelated donors.

The Iowa Marrow Donor Program was created in 1981 and became affiliated with the National Marrow Donor Program in 1991. On average, 25-30 donors are called to donate each year from the Iowa Marrow Donor Program's registry of more than 20,100 persons, and many more are called for further testing. Approximately 2,000 people join the Iowa and national registries each year through the Iowa Marrow Donor Program.

For more information about the donor drive or to receive application forms, call the Iowa Marrow Donor Program toll free at 800-944-8220 or locally at 319-356-3337. For more information regarding the donor drive, please contact Pat Singer, Ph.D., at 515-961-1824 or Steve Ellens at 515-961-1855. For more information regarding the Iowa Marrow Donor Program, please contact Debra Hoyle, membership coordinator of the Iowa Marrow Donor Program, by e-mail at Information about the program can be found online at

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Planning, Marketing and Communications, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room 8798 JPP, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945,