5-East Nurses Organize Bone Marrow Drive

September 7, 2006

Contact: Lauren Cruse (505) 272-3690


Albuquerque, N.M. - This past summer, in preparation for the new stem cell transplant program at University of New Mexico Hospitals (UNMH), nurses from the 5-East unit took time out of their busy schedules to organize a bone marrow drive for hospital employees. The nurses registered 75-80 employees as marrow donors and an additional 25 from the Human Resources Department.

Nurse Lorna Montoya and 5-East Unit Based Educator Margaret Hurst were the lead organizers for the drive and received help from 5-East nurses Michelle Stratton and Heather Howard. Fae Jones from the National Marrow Donor Program also helped the nurses during the drive.

The group spent two weeks visiting with other units in the hospital to educate potential donors about bone marrow donation. After the two weeks of educating, the nurses collected swab samples from cheeks of committed employees for DNA information. From there, each employee's information and paperwork was submitted to the national bone marrow donor registry.

Marrow donors stay in the national registry until the age of 65. If a marrow donor is found to be a match for a patient, the donor will go through a series of screenings to make sure they are indeed the perfect match.

The need for marrow donation is extremely important for people with leukemia and lymphoma. The donated marrow helps these patients restore their stem cells and in turn helps them live longer. Also, the need for more ethnically diverse donors is on the rise as more Native Americans and Hispanics are being treated for these diseases, especially in New Mexico.

"I am very proud that our nursing staff on 5-East is excited about the new stem cell transplant program being developed," said UNMH Chief Nursing Officer Judy Spinella. "They have been collaborating with the physicians and Cancer Research and Treatment Center to ensure that our patients get the best possible care. The fact that they took a leadership role in the bone marrow donor drive is a testimony to their dedication to our UNMH patients. We are very blessed to have such wonderful and caring nurses."

The 5-East unit at UNMH is a clinical research wing with four patient beds dedicated to research. The unit works mostly in oncology and collaborates with the UNM Cancer Research and Treatment Center. To learn more about the National Marrow Donor Program, visitwww.marrow.org

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