CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — November is "National Marrow Awareness Month", and only 30% of people in need of a donor find one in the family. One Coastal Bend high school is the first to team up with Be the Match to make swab kits which help find patients a match.
It all started as a student organization that focuses on Health-Science students and their service projects.
Casey Pyle, the Health-Science teacher at Mary Carroll High School, said this is a great opportunity for his students to learn the importance of community service and to be the best in their career field.
This is the Health-Science program class at Mary Carroll High School. Students in this class gain the necessary skills and tools to prepare them for the real world in the medical field.
For their service project, the class has teamed up with Be the Match, where they help make swab kits. The class can make anywhere from 200 to 400 kits in a class session.
Senior, Yvette Hazzard, wants to go into the nursing field. She told us her class made 2,000 swab kits.
“Basically, what we do is swab in the cheeks to see if you’re a match for people with cancer," said Hazzard.
Leticia Mondragon, the Account Manager for Be the Match, said she utilizes the kits for individuals to sign up for Be the Match and be a part of someone's cure for cancer.
“An individual that registers with Be the Match swab for their HLA type because when we go matching a donor with a patient, it has nothing to do with blood type, it has to do with ethnic background," said Mondragon.
Mondragon told us statistics show white patients have a 79% chance of finding a match, for Latinos and Hispanics, it drops to 48% and 29% for African Americans.
“These kits Corderro don’t come prepared. They don’t come ready to do drives, we need someone or a group to help us put them together," said Mondragon.
The teacher, Casey Pyle, said his students have learned a lot and hopes they continue to succeed.
“All have already earned their EKG certification to be National Registered EMT technicians. They’re also going to be Nationally Registered Medical Assistance," said Pyle.
The organization is always in need of people to register for Be the Match. If you would like to register, click here.
It takes the students not even 5 minutes to simply put the stickers on, then placed them in the envelopes to be mailed off.
Three years ago, we’ve told you the story of Irmalinda De Leon, whose daughter Hilari De Leon ended up finding a match.
The family said they thank their match Sammy Palacious who gave their daughter a second chance at life and is very excited to celebrate her Quinceanera.
“It just feels like time is going by so fast. Like, I’m nervous, but I’m super excited for the most part," said Hilari De Leon.