07 Oct, 2020

October is Gift of Life Month

07 Oct, 2020

Since AEPi’s partnership with Gift of Life — a national organization focused on giving every person battling blood cancer a second chance at life — began in 2004, more than 13,500 people have been swabbed to add to their registry; 471 people have matched someone in need of a transplant and 65 lives have been saved. For someone fighting blood cancers like Leukemia, Lymphoma or Myeloma, the best chance of finding a genetic match lies with those of similar race and ethnicity. For Jewish people, finding a genetic match can be extremely difficult since they only comprise 0.2% of the world population. This is why the in-person drives our Brothers have hosted on campus have been vital to finding a match for those in the Jewish community. Joining Gift of Life’s registry is as easy as swabbing the inside of your cheek.

With the global pandemic keeping people indoors and virtual, Gift of Life has had to pivot its business model to continue adding new people to the registry. Prior to COVID-19, tens of thousands of students on campus registered every year. Now, that number has dwindled to less than 1,000. This puts patients at a greater risk of not being able to find the life-saving treatment they need to survive. To combat this, Gift of Life wants to add 5,781 (recognizing the new Jewish year) new swabs to the registry by the end of October. AEPi is proud to help our partner reach this goal by contributing 1,913 (representing the year of our founding) swabs of the total needed.

What Can I Do?

Chapters and colonies are encouraged to ask their Brothers to get swabbed and add themselves to the registry in October. The preferred donor type is males between the ages of 18-35. Your swab could make you the match that someone is waiting for.

For example, take Brother Jordan Jackson-Clark (Sonoma State, 2018). He was diagnosed with a form of Leukemia in August and needs your help! Brother Jackson-Clark is bi-racial and Jewish, so finding a genetic match for him is extremely difficult. This month, we’re rallying behind Brother Jackson-Clark, and others like him, who need our help now more than ever before.

Gift of Life is sending home testing kits to anyone who requests one. Chapters and colonies interested in participating in the 5,781 drive this month need to fill out the form at giftoflife.org/aepi1913. Once you do, a unique code will be given to your chapter to use when requesting a swab kit for anyone. Again, the test is a simple swab of the cheek that you send back to Gift of Life so that you can be added to the registry. This does not guarantee that you’ll be a match for someone. People wait years before ever being contacted about a possible donation.

Alumni, volunteers and non-Brothers who are interested in participating in this month’s campaign should contact Jon Bridge at [email protected]. He will make sure your swab is counted towards your preferred AEPi chapter.

What’s In It For Me?

The Talmud teaches us, “He who saves the life of one man, it is as if he has saved the entire world.”

You have the power to save someone’s life, like our Brother, Jordan! While many would find this rewarding enough, Gift of Life is hoping to incentivize chapters and colonies to contribute as many swabs as possible to potentially help more people. That’s why we’re excited to announce that the chapter or colony with the most swabs at the end of the month will receive $1,000 off of their AEPi International dues next term. So, swab your Brothers; tell your friends and family to swab, or start a movement (virtually) on your campus to get other students to join the registry!

Still need another reason to participate? If your chapter or colony swabs more than ten people this month, Gift of Life will also enter you into a raffle to win free rush shirts (valued up to $500).

In order to be eligible for either prize, your chapter or colony must set up a short meeting with Gift of Life. All you need to do is invite them to briefly speak (also virtually) at a chapter meeting. Simple!

How Will Gift of Life Know Who to Count?

Each chapter/colony will have a unique code for everyone in your network to use when they request a home test kit. Once the kit has been used and sent back to Gift of Life, they’ll count it towards your chapter’s total.

Questions about your chapter’s unique code or our partnership with Gift of Life can be sent to Chief Programming Officer, Jon Bridge, at [email protected].

Spread the Word

If you want to help Brother Jackson-Clark, we need you to spread the word! Share the link to register for a home kit and your chapter’s code on your social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Use the hashtags #AEPiGivesBack and #Join4Jordan to drive engagement on social media. Tag AEPi and Gift of Life in your posts so that we can see the work you’re doing throughout the month of October and help you to amplify it.