Updated: Nov 24, 2020
As I entered freshman year, I was overwhelmed with all of the different clubs that I could join. Being a marketing major, I decided that I’d join one marketing club. While researching all the different clubs, I came across the American Marketing Association (AMA). After attending a couple meetings I came to find out that there were actually different committees within AMA that had an abundance of hands-on marketing opportunities, one of them being the Be The Match (BTM) Marketing Team!
What is Be The Match?
BTM is the world’s largest bone marrow registry. BTM works with transplant centers that carry out blood marrow transplants by replacing patients’ blood stem cells with healthy cells from a matched donor. These transplants help cancer patients with blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma.
What Does the Be The Match Marketing Team Do?
The BTM Marketing Team’s actions are driven by our goals such as registering 200 students at ASU, increasing their social media following, and helping BTM increase their donor registry diversity nationwide. To raise awareness, we post on all social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok. The content we post ranges from blood drive announcements to real stories about patients. The creative marketing members on the team that manage the social media posts use and learn graphic design skills and put those skills towards a great cause!
What is My Role? What Am I Doing Right Now?
I have the role of a market researcher, so I carry out research that helps us better understand our target markets. As I mentioned earlier, one of our important goals is to help increase diversity within the BTM donor registry. Finding a donor match is very dependent on race, and unfortunately African Americans have the lowest chances of finding an exact match. According to NPR News, African American patients have rarer genetic make-ups, which makes it harder for them to find matches (Nosheen). I decided to do some research on this topic to better understand why this issue exists and how we could address it. I found that due to the mistreatment of African Americans in the health system, African Americans have developed a distrust towards the health system (qtd. in DeShay). I then came across a man named Akiim DeShay, the founder of BlackBoneMarrow.com. Mr. DeShay is a Leukemia survivor. He realized that he wanted to make a difference in the lives of other African Americans that were in the same position that he was in. Since then, he has been trying to raise awareness of this issue and recruit African Americans to donate through his website BlackBoneMarrow.com which has tons of information regarding this issue such as statistics, real life stories, news, and even how to register. I thought that it would be a great idea to reach out to Mr. DeShay and develop a racially/ culturally sensitive way to address this issue within the African American community. I notified our BTM partners about my research, and they said that they’d look into contacting Mr. DeShay. Not only have I been able to gain hands-on experience in market research, but I’ve been able to apply my research to a good cause. This has been a great learning experience so far, and I’m looking forward to the future!
How to Join the Bone Marrow Registry From the Comfort of Your Home!
Text ASU to 61474 to receive a link to start your application.
Click the link and make sure to clarify that you’re not at a blood drive.
Based on how you answer your form, you will receive your mail-in kit. When your kit arrives, swab your cheeks following the directions provided.
Mail Your Kit Back.
You should receive a donor card within 6-8 weeks!
Tik Tok: @bethematchasu
Nosheen, Habiba. “Blacks Face Bone Marrow Donor Shortage.” NPR, NPR, 21 July 2010,https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128173149#:~:text=Because%20bone%20marrow%20compatibility%20is,smaller%20pool%20of%20potential%20donors.