Give A Spit | FAQ

Sep 13 - Nov 8

Give a spit, save a life!

TURTLES

What about....

  • What is a cheek swab?
  • Q. What is a cheek swab?

    A. A cheek swab is a sterile cotton swab (like a Q-Tip) that you rub against the inside of your cheek.
    It collects the cheek cells necessary to type your bone marrow. It’s that easy!

  • Q. What is the bone marrow donation process like?

    A.
    There are 2 ways to donate your bone marrow. Peripheral Blood Stem Cells (PBSC) Donation: Cells are collected via the bloodstream. Donors receive injections of a protein for 5 days to increase the number of stem cells in the bloodstream.

    On the day of collection the blood is removed with a sterile needle from one arm and passed through a machine that separates out the blood stem cells. The remaining blood is returned to the donor. The cell collection is an outpatient procedure which takes about 4-5 hrs on 1-2 consecutive days. While taking the medication, donors may experience flu-like symptoms such as headaches, bone and muscle achiness and fatigue. Most side effects should subside within 48 hrs of donating.
    Bone Marrow Donation: Marrow cells are collected from the backside of the pelvic bone (not the spine) using a special syringe. Donors receive general anesthesia so no pain is experienced during the marrow extraction. This is a 1-2 hour, outpatient, surgical procedure.

    Many donors experience some pain, bruising and stiffness for up to two weeks after their donation. Within a week of donating, most donors are able to return to work, school and many regular activities. The donor’s marrow is completely replenished within a few weeks.

  • Q.
    Are there any age restrictions on registered donors?

    A.
    Donors must be 18 years old or over. But, you can be under 18 and still organize a drive!

  • Q.
    What if I’m not in college? Can I still organize a drive?

    A.
    Absolutely! If you’re under 18, a recent grad, or not in college you can definitely organize a drive with a group of your friends. It can be on a nearby college campus or in your community. Just be sure that everyone you register is 18+.

  • Q.
    How can I convince my school to give me permission?

    A.
    Try collaborating with an existing student group that’s officially recognized by your school. If you’re not a member, see if you can partner up. They’re more likely to give permission for you to hold an event if you’re part of an officially recognized group.Write a formal letter to the decision makers at your school. Download this template or create your own! Let them know they can get in touch with us here at any time by calling 212-254-2390 x233 or e-mailing spit@dosomething.org.

  • Q.
    What are some of the best places to run a drive?

    A.
    Places where there are lots of foot traffic are best! In the Student Union, outside of the main classroom building, near the entrance of the next football game, wherever there’s food.
    Try and be as conveniently located as possible so students don’t have to go out of their way to find you. They’re busy! More broadly, any spaces that are large, easy to access and have tables and chairs on site.

  • Q.
    I don’t have time to organize a drive, but I still want to sign up for the registry. Can I?

    A.
    Absolutely. Check out the “Tips and Tools” tab. We have tons of resources there including a place to sign up as an individual donor. We’ll send you a kit to swab your own cheek and send it back in.
    The real goal of the campaign is to get thousands of new donors, so if you’re signing up as an individual – be sure to encourage your friends to do the same by sharing the link on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Q.
    How do I order swab kits?

    A.
    When you fill out the sign-up form, a representative from Be The Match or DKMS will contact you ASAP. If you've signed up as an organizer and haven't heard from someone within a week, please e-mail spit@dosomething.org to be connected directly to a representative.
    They’ll find out how many new donors you expect to sign up, and help you prepare for your drive. Then, they’ll send you everything you need including swab kits!

  • Q.
    What’s the best way to publicize?

    A.
    Try these tips:
    Post flyers in the spots on campus with the most foot traffic.
    Make announcements during sporting events.
    See if you can get a few professors to spread the word to their classes (try pre-med professors first).
    Contact the student body president to help you recruit.
    Reach out to Greek Life and other student organizations on campus to get them on board.
    Write an article for the school paper.

  • Q.
    Why should I aim for 200 new donors registered?

    A.
    One in every 540 registered donors ends up being a match, on average. By signing up 200 donors there’s almost a 50% chance that you’ll have a lifesaving match on your campus!

  • Q.
    What if I run out of swab kits?

    A.
    You’ll be in contact with both us here at Do Something and a representative from Be The Match or DKMS. If you need more swab kits (first of all, congrats), just let us know! At any points during the campaign you can e-mail spit@dosomething.org with questions and requests.

  • Q.
    How do I send my swab kits back?

    A.
    You will receive a return FedEx label from Be The Match or DKMS. Pack all the used and extra supplies into the original box and drop it off at a nearest FedEx location. If you need help, we can schedule a pick up for you.In the case that you have an on-site representative from Be The Match or DKMS, they’ll just pack up your swab kits and take them after your drive!

  • Q.
    What happens to the swab kits once I send them back to Be The Match or DKMS?

    A.
    The forms will be processed by data entry and the swabs will go to the lab. After 3-4 weeks all the donors will be tested and automatically placed on the tissue type is added anonymously to the Be The Match Registry®

  • Q.
    What if I have questions during the campaign?

    A.
    Don’t hesitate to ask! We’re here for you. Email spit@dosomething.org or text SPITHELP to 38383.
    You’ll also have a Be The Match or DKMS representative assigned to you. They can help with questions related to organizing your drive.

  • Q.
    Is there a cost to register as a bone marrow donor or to donate?

    A.
    There is no cost to the donor to donate. Costs will be covered by the patient’s insurance, or by the National Marrow Donor Program which operates the Be The Match Registry® or by DKMS. This includes costs for travel, meals, lodging or other necessary expenses. A donor’s insurance will never be used.

  • Q.
    Why does a person have to be 18 to join? Can't my parent sign the consent for me?

    A.
    We require volunteer bone marrow donors to be between the ages of 18 and 55, which is standard medical practice. An individual must be 18 to donate because the person undergoing the procedure must be legally able to give informed consent. A guardian or parent cannot sign a release or give consent because unrelated marrow donation is a voluntary procedure and is not beneficial or lifesaving to the donor.

  • Q.
    What is my commitment if I join?

    A.
    When you register as a bone marrow donor, you make a commitment to:

    1. Be listed on the Be The Match Registry® until your 61st birthday, unless you ask to be removed.
    2. Donate to any searching patient who matches you.
    3. Keep us updated if your address changes, you have significant health changes or you change our mind about being a donor.
    4. Respond quickly if you are contacted as a potential match for a patient.
    5. Notify us immediately, if you change your mind about being a donor at any time, so we can remove your information from the registry. It is devastating to patients and their families should you wait to back out after you are a match.
  • Q.
    If I sign-up as a bone marrow donor, how likely is it that I will donate to someone?

    A.
    We cannot predict the likelihood because there is so much diversity in the population. Every person who joins the registry gives patients hope, and new patient searches begin every day. You may never be identified as a match for someone, or you might be one of a number of potential matches for a patient. But you may also be the only person on the registry who can save a particular patient's life so it’s important that you are committed to the possibility of donating.

  • Q.
    Does ancestry or ethnicity affect matching?

    A.
    Ethnicity and heritage are very important factors. Patients are most likely to match someone of similar ethnicity or heritage. Potential donors with diverse ethnic heritage are severely lacking on the registry. Adding more ethnically diverse members increases the likelihood that all patients will find a lifesaving match. The registry needs more donors of all ethnicities but African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, including South Asian, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, Hispanic or Latino and Mixed Ethnicities are especially needed.