Youth speaking out! Pint sized pioneers urging bone marrow donor registration

Getting cheeky: Luis Danvers and Jack Szablewski are the indomitable youths telling America to get swabbed

They may not be eligible as bone marrow donors, and some are patients themselves, but the under-18 set are proving to be vocal on the matter of donation. In a New York Daily News story, two boys , Luis Danvers (a second grader with leukemia) and his BFF Jack Szablewski have joined forces to show that it’s never to too early to encourage people to register as bone marrow donors. During a donor drive the two bonded and have since tag teamed to espouse the rallying cry, “Get swabbed, America.” In other words, take 15 minutes to do a cheek swab, get typed, and register to be a donor.They seem to implicitly declare, “if we know how do to it at this age, then you can do it too.”

Danvers is multi-racial (black and hispanic) and his plight also brings attention to the distinct disparity that multi-racial patients face in finding a match. His mother Sharon Turnage founded the Luis Danvers Leukemia fund, and has been working, along with Jack’s mother Renee to spread awareness in minority communities about joining the registry.

These extraordinary kids demonstrate that children are actually able to comprehend the notion of tissue and organ donation. In fact, educational programs piloted and carried out in schools give learners the opportunity to grasp both the physiological and the social implications of being an organ donor and transplantation. This does not conscript them into being donors, but rather, such educational initiatives get them to start thinking about the issues around transplantation at an early age, and bring up the discussion at home. Moreover, in the midst of tragedy, for children who die at a young age, and may be potential deceased donors, this discussion could be the only opportunity parents have to understand the wishes of their children on the subject.

Image courtesy of Renee Szablewski.

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    1. […] at TransplantInformers we are very interested in youth outreach. We’ve shared the story of tweens who are powerful advocates for donation, and there is fascinating research on Dutch children as donors. Our contributors at ACLT also […]



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