Law Students Rally to Support National Bone Marrow Registry

  • Rallying Support for the Registry
    Rallying Support for the Registry  From left, Barb Marmet '13, W&M President Taylor Reveley, and Lauren Williams '12 show their support at Ali's Run, one of the events held at the Law School to support the work of the National Bone Marrow Registry. The fundraiser is held in memory of Ali Kaplan, daughter of Associate Dean for Career Services Rob Kaplan.  Photo by Gretchen Bedell
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Bone marrow saves lives. That's why William & Mary Law School's Bone Marrow Drive Committee worked tirelessly in March to raise awareness about the need for donations.

The committee also hosted three fundraising events to help defray the cost of adding new donors to the registry as part of Bone Marrow Drive Awareness Week during March 12-17. The fundraisers included a raffle during Drive Day, a Pie Eating Contest, and Ali's Run.

"Drive Day and Ali's Run are time-honored traditions in our committee," said third-year law student Lauren Williams, co-chair of the committee. "Dean Kaplan gave us the idea for the pie eating contest, modeled after a similar event at Cornell's law school, which raised money for a spring break service trip."

The committee raised $3,228 after expenses during the week, with the first couple hundred dollars in support raised from raffles on Drive Day, an event that also provided members of the Law School community with an opportunity to join the Be The Match Registry. The registry is a national database of potential bone marrow donors. Williams said the committee registered 55 new potential donors during Awareness Week.

"It costs about $100 to add a new potential donor to the registry, making fundraising a critical aspect of our organization," she said.

Contestants in the Pie Eating Contest included law students Sean Radomski '14 and Lee Tankle '13, Reference Librarian Ben Keele, Associate Dean for Career Services & Public Service Initiatives Robert Kaplan, and Professors Michael Green, James Dwyer, and Allison Larsen. Contestants began with a baseline pie-eating time of 3 minutes, 14 seconds, and fans could buy additional time for their favorite contestants. Radomski came in first, eating a whopping 2 pounds of pie.

Digging in for a Good Cause: Contestants in the first-ever Pie Eating Contest included, from left, Sean Radomski '14 (later proclaimed winner), Professor Jim Dwyer, Professor Michael Green, and Professor Allison Larsen. Photo by JW Donahue.

Ali's Run, a Saturday 5K run/walk event, has been a mainstay of the Law School community for eight years. It is held in memory of Ali Kaplan, Dean Kaplan's daughter, who passed away in 1997 at the age of 12 from aplastic anemia, a rare bone marrow disease.

"We're after a sense of community: bringing law students and faculty together with fun activities that have a great cause at their root," Williams said.

Bone marrow is crucial to treatment of leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood disorders and cancers, yet more than 70 percent of people suffering from these diseases can't find a donor match within their families. It is for this reason that the committee stresses the importance of raising awareness about the Be The Match Registry. The registry gives hope to people across the country in need of treatment who wouldn't be able to find donor matches otherwise.

Williams said she thinks the 2012 events were a success.

"There were a lot of firsts this year: first Awareness Week, first Pie Eating Contest, first time we had ever held three events within the same week," she said. "We were really pleased with how generous the Law School community was in participating."

Williams serves as co-chair of the committee with Rachel Procopio '13. Sophia Chase '12 and Anna Pulliam '13 were responsible for Drive Day, Joe Sherman '13 organized the Pie Eating Contest, and Barb Marmet '13 and Valentine Uduebor '12 were in charge of Ali's Run. Erika Friedlander '12 handled publicity for the week. Williams expressed appreciation for all those who volunteered, contributed, and attended, as well as those who donated money, time, pies, and support to the cause.