Saving a life with nothing more than a cotton swab

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - They came by the dozens to the Singing River Healthplex Monday, filling out forms and then swabbing their mouths as part of the bone marrow registry drive. It was quick and painless, but the results could be far reaching.

Dr. Clinton Hull of Singing River Hospital is a donor himself.

"Well, I was selected as a match in the late parts of 2011 and actually donated my bone marrow then. It's very rewarding knowing that a simple gesture can help save somebody's life," Hull recalled.

This drive is a big success for one reason, a lady from Pass Christian who brought worldwide attention to the procedure.

"Most people identify well with our local celebrity Robin Roberts, and I think her story appeals and speaks to a lot of people," said Nicole Etheridge with Singing River Rehab. "This is a matter of live and death."

Some, like Sara Smith, registered for very personal reasons.

"My mother is on the organ donation list for ad double lung transplant because she's been diagnosed pulmonary fibrosis, and the more people that are organ donors, the more chance people have for life, to continue their life," Smith said.

Others, such as Matt Clifton signed up because it just seemed right.

"I just feel it's for a good cause and I mean, why not do it? It's just signing up for it and if someone's life can be changed by being a blood donor," Clifton said.

For those who choose to register for the bone marrow registry and are found to be a perfect match later on down the line, the question they may ask is what does it mean to me from an expense standpoint? The answer is absolutely nothing, according to Etheridge.

"The cost is to the recipient. So there's no travel, no expenses. All of the expenses, plus the gas, is paid for by the person receiving the transplant."

And for the recipient, it's a life saving procedure you just can't put a price tag on.

Officials with Singing River Health System say more bone marrow drives are being planned for later this year.

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