Fraternity member donates stem cells

    By Clancy Burke, WKRC

    OXFORD, Ohio (WKRC) – Fraternity brothers at Miami University are trying to save lives through their Greek organization.

    It all started when representatives from Gift of Life Marrow Registry came to one of the Pi Kappa Alpha chapter meetings last year to see if anyone was a match for a blood cancer patient.

    “I don’t know what the odds are but they’re small that you’ll get a match,” said sophomore Ryan Bergen.

    Each member of the fraternity swabbed their cheeks, and within a matter of months, Bergen found out he was a match.

    “They told me that I was donating to a cancer patient that has Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and he was 29 years old and he was a male,” Bergen said.

    The decision to donate was a no-brainer and he flew out to Florida to donate his stem cells.

    “This guy is going to get everything I have,” Bergen said. “He’s even going to be allergic to what I’m allergic to. He’s going to have a big piece of me.”

    Although none of the other Pi Kappa Alpha members were matches, it showed them just how influential fraternities could be.

    “It’s something as simple as ten minutes at a chapter meeting that can save a person’s life and it just goes to show the good a fraternity can do if you put your mind to it,” senior Jack O’Hara said. “Once you get into it and you see all the things we’re working on doing, you can understand how someone like Ryan would be able to save a person’s life through an experience like going through a fraternity.”

    And the only thing better than one fraternity is hundreds of fraternities or even thousands.

    “We think that if we got other fraternities to do the same – just The Gift of Life thing – how many more matches can we get just from fraternities around the globe?”

    That’s exactly why Bergen became a campus ambassador for Gift of Life this year.

    “I’m going to be going around to other fraternities this upcoming semester and giving the presentation that we were given and that someone came in here gave to us, and that changed my life and all of our lives,” he said.