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Wednesday
Sep182013

Michigan Blood to Partner with Islamic Society of Midland

Michigan Blood is partnering with the Islamic Society of Midland (ISM) to host a blood and marrow registry drive.

The drive will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, September 21 at the Islamic Center of Midland, 1801 N. Stark in Midland. ISM and siblings Jafar and Asma Siddiqui are organizing the drive in memory of their father Dr. Waheed Siddiqui who passed away from a rare form of leukemia in 2011. The Siddiqui family, pioneer members of the Society, hope to carry on Dr. Siddiqui’s legacy by inviting the community to help save lives.

“I gave blood before my father was diagnosed, but it became very real when he got ill,” said Jafar. “My mother and sister have been giving blood regularly for the last few years. When someone goes through this, you find inspiration to help others.”

Due to the severity of Dr. Siddiqui’s illness, the Dow Corning retiree was a candidate to receive a blood stem cell transplant. Despite attempts from family members to provide a match for a transplant, Dr. Siddiqui passed away before a match could be found. Because of the experience, the Siddiqui family and ISM were inspired to add a marrow registry to the blood drive to recruit potential donors to help find a cure for patients suffering from illnesses like leukemia and lymphoma.

Michigan Blood’s Stem Cell Program, a Be The Match Registry affiliate, will help facilitate the recruitment. 

“In a continuing effort to give back to the community, we are fully committed to serving in a variety of ways,” said Naveed Khan, president of the Islamic Society of Midland.One such way is by facilitating a blood and bone marrow drive at the Islamic Center.  What better contribution than the gift of life. We believe every step counts towards building a better and stronger nation.”

Jafar says the drive is also significant because it will be held in the mosque his father helped establish. The first Islamic Center in Midland opened its doors in the fall of 2011, only a few months after Dr. Siddiqui passed away.

“The event is extremely special because of the location, which is a huge part of the Islamic community in Midland,” said Jafar. “It’s great to see how the community has grown… and to have a building and an event that is carrying on my father’s legacy.”

To participate in the drive, donors can visit www.miblood.org or call 1-866-MIBLOOD to make an appointment. Walk-ins are welcome. Any healthy person 17 or older (or 16 with parental consent) who weighs at least 110 pounds may be eligible to give blood every 56 days. Blood donors should bring photo ID (or two forms of non-photo ID). Every person that attempts to donate will be entered to win one of two $50 gift cards.

To join the National Marrow Donor Program’s Be the Match Registry, registrants must be between the ages of 18 and 44. The process includes filling out a health questionnaire and providing a cheek swab. The total cost to add a new member to the Registry is about $100. Michigan Blood fundraises throughout the year to offset the cost of tissue testing necessary for registration. Most often, a majority of these costs are covered and new registry members are asked to contribute only $25. Because of the need to diversify the Registry, those of diverse ethnic backgrounds are able to join at no cost with the help of federal funding. For more information, potential registrants can contact Ryan Heinhuis at (616) 233-8676 or by email at rheinhuis@miblood.org.

Michigan Blood hosts 3,700 blood drives a year to help meet the needs of local hospitals across Michigan. In Midland, Michigan Blood is the exclusive blood provider for MidMichigan Medical Center - Midland.