“One in a million”: WKU student to host bone marrow drive on campus

Chris Goodman, a junior speech pathology major has organized a bone marrow drive scheduled for April 14th, and is encouraging other students to donate. Goodman donated his bone marrow in October 2014, and is passionate about raising awareness for donation. He hopes to meet his donee this coming October. Emily Kask/Herald

Nicole Ares

When Chris Goodman first signed up for the bone marrow drive in April 2013, he knew that he would be signing up for a procedural cheek swab. He never imagined that he would be saving an individual’s life. 

Goodman, a WKU junior from Knoxville, Tennessee and swim team member, defied the odds last fall by donating his bone marrow to a woman in critical need.

“I know a little girl that I coached at my summer league team at home who had leukemia and a bone marrow transplant, so I’ve always known about the process, but had never followed through with it,” explained Goodman.

Approximately four months after Goodman swabbed his cheek and ultimately forgot about the drive, he got an email entitled, “You’re a Match!” 

There was a less than 1% chance that Goodman would be a match, according to the Delete Blood Cancer Organization.

His bone marrow recipient was a woman in her mid-50s with Multiple Myeloma Cancer. After three re-scheduled appointments because of the recipients unstable health, Goodman was finally able to undergo the marrow transplant in October 2014.

Goodman said he couldn’t put into words the feeling he got from the transplant.

“Usually everyone’s like, ‘oh I want to be matched with a young kid who has leukemia and a full life ahead of them,’ and that is awesome. But my mom is in her 50s and so is this woman, so I could potentially be giving someone’s mother a chance at a longer life with her loved ones.”

There’s a lot of speculation that the bone marrow procedure is extremely painful, but Goodman said another person’s life was well worth it, and it wasn’t too painful at all.

Now, Goodman is giving back to the cause by hosting a bone marrow drive on WKU’s campus. Since college-aged and physically active people are the best donors, he has decided to place the drive in front of the Preston Center.

The WKU bone marrow drive will be held April 20-22. Goodman will host on April 21 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the blue courts.

“Every year, nearly 13,000 people will need a bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor, but less than half will get one,” according to the Delete Blood Cancer Organization that Goodman has partnered with.

Goodman said donating could provide that chance to one of the 13,000 people needing a transplant. 

“I thought I would never have anything to do with the organization again, just be on the registry until age 55,” Goodman said. “But now, it has changed my life forever.”