Texas State begins bone marrow drive partnership

Posted by University News Service

Feb. 21, 2012

Texas State University will begin the first-ever partnership between two Texas universities for cancer outreach targeting Hispanic undergraduate students for marrow donor registration.

Ronnie Lozano, chair of the Texas State Radiation Therapy Program, will lead 30 Texas State students and faculty members to the University of Texas-Pan American for the campus-wide donor drive Monday through Wednesday, February 27-29.

The program is named for Kathy Soliz who battled leukemia for 11 years and died at 23 because she could not find a donor match.

The “Be the Match” Foundation of the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) will provide the materials for marrow donor registration. Collaboration with “Be the Match” program fulfills a service learning component of the mission of the Radiation Therapy Program at Texas State University.

Large registries of unrelated donors are needed because only about 30 percent of patients with diseases treatable with adult cell transplantation can find a suitably matched donor among their family members. The remaining 70 percent require an unrelated adult cell donor as a transplant source. The registry's success therefore depends on a large number of volunteer donors. 

The Kathy Soliz Texas State Radiation Therapy Outreach Program will continue to implement a one-week marrow drive annually targeting minority populations on college campuses throughout Texas. The program will work collaboratively with the non-profit Texas State Cancer Advocacy Movement for Colleges and Outreach (CAMCO), led by CAMCO chair Lawrence E. Estaville, professor in the department of geography at Texas State.

 UTPA administration, led by Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Life & Transition Services Jeannette Broshears, will provide meals and lodging for the Texas State Radiation Therapy participants for this important collaboration to save lives. The Radiation Therapy Program will fund the transportation.

The Kathy Soliz Texas State Radiation Therapy Outreach Program targets the Hispanic and African-American populations for marrow registration on college campuses in order to increase the chances of finding a match. The odds for finding a match per ethnicity are for Whites – one in 300,000; for African Americans – one in 600,000; for Hispanics – one in 600,000. UTPA’s undergraduate student body is 89.3 percent Hispanic.

College campuses provide vital populations of young potential marrow donors.  Campuses at various geographic locations have varying numbers of different ethnic populations. Target goals of donor registrants will be set each year for donor registrants addressing alternating ethnic populations. 

Contact: Ronnie G. Lozano, MSRS, RT(T),  RL10@txstate.edu,  512-245-1345.