Sorority Hosts Bone Marrow Drive in Sister's Honor

Delta Zeta inspired by Robin Roberts and sister's death

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By Monique Williams

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- As ABC's Good Morning America's Robin Roberts returned this week after months of recovering from a bone marrow transplant, awareness has been raised across the country about the importance of people signing up to be placed on the National Bone Marrow Registry. A local sorority champions the same cause but for very personal reasons.

"One of our sisters of Delta Zeta, Carolina Terry, was diagnosed with leukemia," said Mary Kate Duffy. "She needed a bone marrow transplant, so the sisters banned together and created the Sweet Caroline Blood and Bone Marrow Drive to find Caroline a match.

A match was found for Caroline in 2005. She had the bone marrow transplant, but days later developed complications, which led to pneumonia, which led to her death. However, her sorority sisters say at least there were options available through the registry, which is what's important.

"All I had to do was swab my cheek with a Q-tip and give them my information," said Duffy.

"70% of people who need a bone marrow transplant can't find a genetic match within their family, so it's important everyone puts their name on the registry so people have the biggest chance of finding a match," said another sorority sister, Cathryn Malone.

Last year's sorority drive added 348 names to the national registry. This time around, they hope it's even more.

"It's great to see out of something so sad, we can find matches for people."

The Ninth Annual Sweet Caroline Blood and Bone Marrow Drive is Wednesday, February 27th, from 9am - to 6pm, at the Russell House Ballroom, on the campus of USC.

Be The Match Foundation® raises funds to help provide marrow and umbilical cord blood transplants to patients with leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia and other diseases. Be The Match® is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program®, a nonprofit organization that educates healthcare professionals, conducts research and matches donors with patients. Thousands of patients depend on Be The Match Foundation to raise funds to grow our registry and make life-saving transplants a reality. For more information, go to www.bethematchfoundation.org.

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