Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity To Host On-Campus Stem Cell Drive

March 6, 2024 Marissa Brunkhorst

Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s upcoming philanthropy event connects students to science and medicine in a unique way. The fraternity is hosting a stem cell registration drive in an effort to register more people on the National Marrow Donor Program’s (NMDP) donor list. 

Stem cells are used to treat blood cancers like leukemia. The cells are extracted through a simple saliva swab and then reviewed by professionals to find a potential match. Then, the donor travels and donates their stem cells.

Cael Sutton, a fraternity member, first learned of the cause at the fraternity’s national convention three years ago, where he first registered to donate. Last month, he received a call that he matched with someone in need. 

According to Sutton, NMDP compensates donors’ entire travel expenses. He flew down to Houston, TX for his stem cell donation. 

“It was really cool, there was somebody holding a sign with my name on it waiting to pick me up at the airport,” Sutton said. 

Sutton said he was contacted three times previously about being a match. He was a backup donor previously.

“Once you get on the registry, you’re on there for as long as you want to be,” Sutton said. 

The fraternity will host a saliva swab event where all students can register to become a donor. Students are invited to register to donate in the MUC on March 25. 

Sutton hopes his experience helps eliminate confusion about stem cell donation. 

“We’ve never tried to get other people on campus to do it outside of the fraternity, but after I matched, this year we thought we might as well try it,” he said. 

When pitching the event to Sorority and Fraternity Life, Sutton was able to describe his experience and give context to what the process is like for students. 

“I think my experience made it less abstract,” he said. 

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