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Campus Ambassador Program at Florida Atlantic University reaches 100 matches for patients

May 07, 2024 by Gift of Life News

Florida Atlantic University (FAU) is located within a mile of Gift of Life Marrow Registry’s headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla. When the Campus Ambassador Program was launched in 2014, it was practically a given that this would be one of the first campuses to participate. 

Since that time, Gift of Life Campus Ambassadors (called CAPs) have partnered with many organizations and athletic teams on the FAU campus to hold drives and recruit their fellow students to join the registry.

Among these team and organizations are the FAU Men’s Lacrosse Team, Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach, Delta Tau Delta, Pi Kappa Alpha, and Sigma Chi.

CAPs may partner with organizations like these to present an educational program, hold a drive during a team practice or organization meeting for members to swab and join the registry, or they may team up to hold a public drive together. 

In both 2022 and 2023, Campus Ambassadors participated in Greek Week events, to give sorority sisters and fraternity brothers the chance to join the registry.

To date, eight transplants to save patients’ lives have been completed

The end goal for the CAPs is to find matching donors for patients who are diagnosed with blood cancer, inherited immune disorders, sickle cell disease, and more than 75 conditions that can be helped or cured by a blood stem cell transplant. 

Eight such life-saving transplants have been completed with donors who joined the registry during FAU Campus Ambassador drives. 

One of these was Adam LeBlanc, a member of the lacrosse team who swabbed along with his fellow teammates in November 2020.  He was quickly found to be the best match for a 14-year-old boy, Michael Johnson, who was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer, Fanconi anemia. The transplant was a success and the two were introduced for the first time at the 2023 Campus Ambassador Symposium training session in August. 

“We are extremely proud of Adam and very thankful to have him as a part of the FAU Lacrosse family,” said Coach Stavros Neocleous, who welcomes the CAPs to swab the lacrosse team every year. “We are extremely grateful for all of the work Gift of Life does for our community.”

“Having had the opportunity to sit with Adam and Michael and their families, at the Campus Ambassador Symposium in 2023, I was able to see first-hand the impact that this program has on both our students and the recipients,” said FAU Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Faerman, Ph.D. “We constantly talk to our students about how they can transform the lives of others, and our partnership with Gift of Life is one of the most powerful ways to do that. It is truly a  life-altering experience for both parties.”

FAU also serves as venue for the annual Steps for Life 5k in January

The Steps for Life 5k Walk and Run is one of Gift of Life’s longest-running fundraisers, and FAU’s beautiful campus provides a great venue for the event.  The Campus Ambassadors at FAU serve as volunteers during the event, helping to fill roles from registration check-in to the swabbing table to manning the water stations along the route. 

Gift of Life is thankful to be located near a university so willing to offer ongoing support and looks forward to many more years of this impactful partnership with Florida Atlantic University through the Campus Ambassador Program.