Tween Saves LivesWhen the time came for my nephew Patrick to design a project for his Eagle Scout, he decided to take on something that is usually done by adults. He organized a registry drive to get healthy adults to join the National Marrow Donor Registry. Did I mention he is 12 years old?
Creative CollaborationPatrick worked with DKMS Delete Blood Cancer, the nonprofit registry that provided the swab kits and educational materials.
When considering ways to get the most donors possible, he looked to see what big events were coming up that would already bring people together. When he saw that the Full Moon Four-Miler race was coming up, he contacted race officials and asked if he could run the swab drive during the race. They readily agreed.
"I figured healthy people run, so that would be a good event." Patrick told me.
Then Patrick approached local businesses to promote the event. One man told him he would try to stop by the event, but he had a busy schedule. Patrick said, "I've got swab kits in my mom's car. Do you want to join now?" The man said yes and Patrick got him registered.
He designed flyers and distributed them all over Waterford. He and his family talked it up at ball games, at the park, and anywhere people with healthy stem cells would be.
Flyers like these were distributed throughout the town, at ball games, and to neighbors and friends.
Patrick recruited volunteers from his Scout troop, neighborhood, and ball team (including his parents and 3 siblings) and they set off for a big day of public education and donor recruitment.
"Here's a bracelet! Go to the blue tent and save a life!"The kids walked around with signs and handed out red rubber "delete blood cancer" bracelets and guided people to the swab tent. Who can say no to adorable youth?
Runners in the race and spectators stopped by the tent to learn more about marrow/stem cell donation. A few people shared stories of loved ones who were saved by donors.
The winner of the race joined the Registry after the awards ceremony. He posed with the young drive organizer here.
Donors were invited to sign the "Heroes On Call" poster.
I'm told that 87 people joined the registry at the Full Moon race and another dozen or so joined before and after the event.
And hundreds more learned about or were reminded of their power to save lives.
Patrick says he will join the registry when he turns 18. But he's not waiting to start saving lives!