Local dentist plans Bone Marrow Donor Registry drive

Going to the dentist isn’t always the most exciting part of your day, but in some cases, it can save someone’s life.

Dentists at Superior Dental Care in Marquette will be trading in their drills for cotton swabs this Friday during their Bone Marrow Donor Registry drive.

More than 1 million Americans are currently living with some form of Leukemia or Lymphoma that can be treated with a bone marrow transplant. Even though there are already millions of donors listed on the national registry, 6 out of 10 patients never receive the lifesaving transplant they need.

“One of the reasons it’s difficult for someone to find a potential bone marrow donor, if they have Leukemia or Lymphoma, is because there are many, many types of bone marrow,” explained Dr. Carla Skaates DDS, who planned the drive at her Superior Dental Care office. “My stepfather was diagnosed with Leukemia in the 1980’s, and when he had his bone marrow transplant it was an experimental procedure. He got an extra 25 years of life because of that. It is a little personal to me, and I definitely think you can save someone’s life.”

The process is relatively simple.

Potential donors come in, fill out a one-page health questionnaire, and if they’re eligible, all that’s left is a 10-second swab of the cheek which is sent in for official registry.

Motions Fitness is helping sponsor the drive and assessing whether or not someone between the ages of 18 and 54 is healthy enough to donate.

“It’s really easy. We’re going to be here, at the office, too while they are doing the registry. We’re just going to do basic height, weight, and other fitness components to get a good, general baseline for where their fitness is at. Then, we’re going to talk to them and see what’s going on; do a basic health history with them, see what their goals and objectives are, set a little game plan, and put it in motion,” noted Mike Koskiniemi, owner of Motions Fitness in Marquette. “It’s not a scary thing if you’re not healthy. This is a great way to find out if you’re just not at that point. We’re going to be here to reach out our hand to take you and maybe get you on a little path to get healthier, so then you can do your part for society.”

The event is slated for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Friday. It’s free to register but donations are always welcome as it costs 65 dollars to enter each potential donor into the registry.

If you’d like to participate, call ahead to Dr. Skaates’ office at (906) 228-9592.