Student helps bring first World Marrow Donor Day to FAU

Gift of Life Campus Ambassador Crystal Mahannah will swab cheeks to find marrow donors.


Photo courtesy of WMDD

Emily Creighton, Features Editor

Crystal Manannah, Junior political science and sociology double major. Photo courtesy of WMDD
Crystal Manannah, Junior political science and sociology double major. Photo courtesy of WMDD

The first ever World Marrow Donor Day is coming to Florida Atlantic University on Saturday with the help of junior Crystal Mahannah.

The event, which will be held at the FAU Stadium from 8 to 11 a.m., is hosted by Gift of Life, a Boca-based, non-profit organization that helps facilitate transplants for children and adults affected by life-threatening diseases, including leukemia and lymphoma.

Holding events in all 50 states, student ambassadors will perform “speed swabbing” – a process where participants have the inside of their mouths swabbed – to identify potential bone marrow donors.

Mahannah, a double major in political science and sociology, is an FAU Gift of Life campus ambassador who has been the national communications coordinator for two years. Her position as an ambassador requires her to perform the cheek swabbing, raise money for the cause and participate in webinars during the semester.

“This is a symbol of the unionization of college students across the country working to make a lasting impact on the lives of those suffering from cancer and other rare blood disorders,” said Mahannah. “There is no artificial bone marrow, that means the only way to give patients a second chance is through human interaction. I am working to act as a medium for this human interaction, together we can make a difference and give others a second chance at life.”

The cause is personal for Mahannah. She lost two grandparents to cancer, including her grandfather who passed away two weeks after his diagnosis. She remembers the doctors saying that there was nothing they could do to help him.

“That is why I got involved with the Gift of Life, because I don’t want any other person, whether a child, a parent, a friend, to hear that there is not much we can do. I am here to help save a life, to provide professionals and patients with something, something that can give them a second chance at life. I am here to make a difference and divert the pain of the loss of a loved one for as many people as I can,” she said.

Mahannah believes that this is an important day for all of those involved. “There is a lot of misconceptions about marrow donation and this day is a day to educate and advocate for bone marrow transplant. When we can do this we can recruit more and more people to our cause, which saves more and more lives.”

For more information about World Marrow Donor Day, visit Gift of Life’s website.

Emily Creighton is the features editor for the University Press. If you would like to contact her regarding this article or others, email her at [email protected].