For Chelsea Fritzson, the impact of cancer is fresh in her memory. Two months ago, the sophomore lost her close friend Michael Kearns to acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and has since taken on Kearns’ mission to spread the word about becoming a donor.
“His attitude and zest for life compared to anyone else’s was inspiring. If Mike can do it, so can I,” Fritzson, a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, said.
Joined by the sisters of Kappa Alpha Theta, Fritzson is reaching out to the Quinnipiac community by holding a bone marrow drive tomorrow in the pep band room of the Recreation Center (AC147) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The event is sponsored by Be The Match Foundation and Michael’s Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps cancer patients through marrow transplants.
A potential donor will have to sign consent forms and go through a health and history review before a sample can be collected via an inner cheek swab. Michael’s Fund waives the registration fee.
Even though it is not one of Theta’s normal philanthropies, the sorority wanted to rally around Fritzson’s cause.
“The planning of the marrow drive truly speaks to the character of Chelsea,” said Amanda Siemann, a junior nursing major and Theta sister. “She is one of the most compassionate, smart, strong, and generous people I know.”
“I couldn’t have done it without them,” Fritzson said.
According to research done by Be The Match Foundation, around 10,000 patients hope for a matching donor every year, and only four out of 10 patients receive marrow for a number of different reasons.
A method called Peripheral Blood Stem Cell donation is used 75 to 80 percent more than taking marrow from the hip. PBSC uses a needle to separate the blood cells needed for a patient, and the remaining blood is given back to the donor.
“I absolutely plan on becoming a donor on Thursday,” a confident Siemann said. “I am extremely excited about donating. It is an incredible cause and a very simple process that will help to raise awareness about the need to add more donors to the Be The Match registry.”
Kearns lost his fight to cancer, but with the help of his close friend he is helping so many others win their’s.
“There’s more to life than what’s on the ground,” said Fritzson, reflecting on her friend.