On Wednesday, Sept. 25, several groups will come together at Cox Plaza in front of Edgar A. Brown University Union to set up a health fair as part of Live Well Week on Clemson’s main campus. Among them is a Charlotte-based nonprofit organization called the Project Life Movement.

The purpose behind Project Life is to save lives and cure diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell anemia by growing the number of potential bone marrow and stem cell donors on the global registry.Live Well Week, Project Life Movement graphic display

“We need to grow the registry with young, healthy and diverse people between the ages of 18 and 35,” said Dean Thompson, executive director of Project Life. “A college student is uniquely qualified to engage in this opportunity and poised to change this healthcare dynamic by putting more donors on the registry.

“Together, we are going to save lives.”

Project Life recently funded 100 percent of a student’s internship this fall through the Clemson UPIC program. Anna-Taylor Harbin, a senior majoring in biological sciences, has been charged with giving presentations to different student groups and soliciting more donors for the national registry. She said about 130 resident assistants showed up in Brackett Hall to get the ball rolling. She also plans to meet with medical fraternities and student health organizations, among many others.

“This can be life-saving for individuals with blood diseases,” Harbin said. “It can add extra years to someone’s life, and you can’t measure that type of impact on a family.”

Statistics show that 20,000 patients need stem cell and bone marrow transplants every year. Less than half will find a match.

Madi Howell of Clemson volleyball swabbing her cheeks to be added to the Project Life global bone marrow registry

A member of the Clemson volleyball program swabs her cheek to be added to the Gift of Life global registry at the Nieri Family Enrichment Center in April.
Image Credit: Clemson Athletics

Using the Gift of Life marrow registry app, students can sign up in a matter of minutes. The procedure includes a simple cheek swab. The individual’s DNA is then sent to a clinical partner and protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Project Life began partnering with universities and has been on 50 campuses across the country. The group first came to campus in the spring, where more than 100 students were swabbed and joined the registry following educational events at the Nieri Family Student-Athlete Enrichment Center and Cooper Library bridge.

On Wednesday, Project Life will be joined by representatives from Healthy Campus, Tigers Together and other student organizations displaying information from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Cox Plaza.

“Clemson’s Live Well Week provides us the opportunity to share our mission with the ideal target audience,” Thompson said. “The more students who join the registry through the cheek swab, the more lives that can be saved. It constantly amazes me the lifelong impact a student can make through a five-minute cheek swab.

“Clemson is a leader among universities and this is yet another example of Tiger Nation taking the lead.”