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Featured fundraiser: Rachel Price

Rachel holding her blood stem cells after donating them

Rachel’s connection with NMDPSM started back in high school, when she learned that her friend Carson had a life-saving marrow transplant as a child. For one of their school projects, she and Carson hosted a registry event in the gym and a 5K fun run to raise money for NMDP. It was Carson’s passion that really stuck with Rachel throughout the years and inspired her to join the NMDP RegistrySM while attending college.

A full circle life changing moment

Years after joining the registry, Rachel got the call that she was a match for a patient. As a teacher herself, she immediately began to figure out ways to incorporate the blood stem cell donation process into her eighth grade science class.  She wanted to give her students the same gift she had been given—the power to make a difference in the world.

When Rachel shared the news of her upcoming donation with her students, they became excited and very curious. In order to convey the information in a way that her students would understand, Rachel told the story of Thor. Just one year younger than her students, Thor was a local student battling with sickle cell disease and in search for his life-saving donor match.

A friendly competition with life-saving results

Her students were eager to do all they could to help Thor. So, along with Thor’s mother and the local NMDP representative, they came up with the idea to launch an online fundraiser and a text to join the donor registry.

“I wanted to give my students as much autonomy as possible because I wanted them to feel a sense of ownership. I wanted them to learn the power they had to make a difference,” said Rachel. So, they set up two fundraising pages—one for the students and the other for their teacher. Whoever raised the most money would win a prize at the end of the fundraising window. The students chose a field trip and pizza. If Rachel won, each student would have to practice their public speaking skills and give a minute-long speech to their peers during lunch. For extra incentive, Rachel would allow her students to duct tape her to the wall during lunch if they were able to fundraise over $1,000.

The wagers kicked fundraising into high gear! From the beginning of December until the end of January, the students sent out emails requesting donations from local businesses, created social media posts to get the word out to their community and collected money from their peers, friends and family. In total, $1,500 was raised for NMDP, $1,030 of which the students raised.

“I have never been more proud to have lost a wager! They did an incredible job taking ownership, pushing themselves beyond their comfort zone and working to make a difference in the lives of others,” said Rachel.  

"I’m very proud to say that I got the chance to help the NMDP organization and to do the fundraiser. It helped me learn about different illnesses and different ways people can help. It also helped me learn about the ways I can raise awareness for different organizations."
- Sophia, Eighth Grade

A shared experience

 Although Rachel was across the country for her blood stem cell donation, she was able to share the moment with her students through a video call. As her life-saving cells filled the bag, students asked Rachel and her nurse questions about the donation process. Their natural curiosity also helped fulfill some of the science standards for the year such as discussing biotechnology, genetics and the treatment of diseases.

“The donation process was an incredible experience. I felt pure joy knowing that I was making a difference in someone else's life,” said Rachel.

In the future, Rachel hopes this experience will inspire her students to continue to do good in the world. “I hope that one day years from now, my students will be walking across their college campus and see a flyer for a swab event and smile. I hope they will join the registry and experience the gratitude of serving others,” said Rachel.

You too can be a part of the movement to save lives by fundraising your way. Your support makes a cure within reach for patients with life-threatening blood cancers and disorders.