WEEK 7: UGA, SC, NC

The SAM team woke up to a bitterly cold morning on the day of our UGA drive, which was to be held outside. But not to be deterred, we layered up sweaters and coats and gloves and hats and headed to Dawg territory to sign up potential donors in honor of our cancer-fighting friend Alex, whose wonderful family we got to meet in Hilton Head. DEPsi fraternity and AED pre-med society were there to meet us armed with posters and enthusiasm, which got us pumped up for the day despite the less-than-perect conditions. The free coffee station directly next to us helped also. The morning started off slow, but as the day wore on, more and more student volunteers showed up to our table packed with energy and ready to register their fellow students. By days end, we had 172 new potential donors. We went home a touch frozen but grateful for all the incredible effort to help out Alex and other patients needing transplants.

One that high note, we headed out of Georgia and into South Carolina where we promptly dropped Alex off at the airport for a quick 24-hour trip to Iowa. What is in Iowa, you ask? The I Know Jack fundraiser, where hundreds of folks come together to support a 15 year old boy (Jack) fighting brain cancer. Party-goers danced and swabbed into the night, and Alex left Iowa 92 swabs richer.  

We used a brand spankin’ new model of registering donors at USC in Columbia. In an experimental trial, we went to several greek chapter meetings to make a short announcement about our story and why joining the registry is so important. Members were given the opportunity to swab once chapter was over, and that is exactly what many of them did. Perhaps it’s nerdy, but the throngs of people that came to our table post-chapter gave us quite the adrenaline rush. We managed to sign up 124 potential matches AND pretty much all of them were as stoked as we were after hearing your story and realizing how simple it can be to save a life. 
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The SAM team with Chris, a recent bone marrow donor who gave a patient fighting aplastic anemia a second chance at life. We had a great time meeting Chris at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery

The next day brought us to North Carolina, where we partnered up with Project Life for a drive at Queens University, a small school with an awesome community that seemed to get really into bone marrow. Awesome! Working with Project Life was a great way to collaborate and talk to other people with the same mission to see what has worked for them and what hasn’t. Taylor was especially thrilled to learn her Boston College classmate and NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Luke Kuechley acted as their spokesperson. She always gets giddy about fellow Eagles. 

Meanwhile, Alex solo ventured to Red Ventures, which she describes as the Google of North Carolina (that is actually located in South Carolina). We take that to mean there were lots of trendy young employees that enjoy sweet perks and work in a relatively laid back atmosphere. We are up for going anywhere with table tennis is the offices. 

As night fell upon us, we tackled a brewery in Charlotte, Old Mecklenberg, where people were finding their inner peace both through yoga and craft beers. What a brilliant idea! 24 Hours of Booty hosted a happy hour and swab event for us there, and we were happy about it. 

The last stop before the SAM team flew home for SPRING BREAK ’15 (!!!!!) was Duke University which impressed us with it’s gothic architecture and general college-y feel. We set up at the undergrad and divinity schools and managed to hit the mark of 4,000 total donors in 2015 by days end. We jumped up and down and acted like gargoyles in celebration, that’s a natural reaction, right? RIGHT?!?