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University of Iowa News Release

Release: Feb. 2, 2004

Project Marrow To Hold Marrow Marathon In February On UI Campus

Project Marrow will sponsor a Marrow Marathon by holding three donor registration drives on the University of Iowa campus next month.

The first donor registration drive will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11 at the UI College of Dentistry in the lobby of the Dental Science Building. The second session, representing the fifth annual campus-wide donor registration drive, will be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12 in the Lucas/Dodge and Miller Rooms of the Iowa Memorial Union. The final donor registration drive in this series will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19 at the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine in the atrium of the Medical Education and Biomedical Research Facility (MERF). The public is invited to participate.

Five years ago UI students affected by diseases involving stem cell transplants formed a new student organization called Project Marrow to educate the UI community about the Iowa Marrow Donor Program and the National Marrow Donor Program registries. Project Marrow gives community members the opportunity to save lives by registering their tissue type with the program.

The students of Project Marrow encourage people to join the registry, conduct publicity efforts, staff registration drives and serve as fundraisers. Since the founding of Project Marrow in 1999, 1,109 volunteers have joined the registry, six of these volunteers have been matched to unrelated patients in need and have donated their stem cells, and many others have been called for additional testing. Project Marrow is affiliated with the Iowa Marrow Donor Program at UI Hospital and Clinics.

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 over 20,500 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 Project Marrow or the donor drive, please contact Jenni Borcherding, president, at (319) 351-5566 or by e-mail at 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 UI 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 Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Health Care, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room E110 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

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