February 5, 2024
Mayville State University students, faculty, and staff teamed up with NMDP (National Marrow Donor Program), formerly known as Be the Match, to help facilitate potential stem cell donor matches. Volunteers staffed stations on campus and at May-Port CG High School on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024, where people who wished to join the match program registry could swab a cheek and have the opportunity to save a life. As a result of this campaign, more than 80 people joined the registry.
On the evening of Monday, Jan. 29, Mayville State student athletes and volunteers gathered to learn more about NMDP, the work the organization does, and what being on the registry means. Those in attendance were able to join the registry at that time if they chose to do so.
The Comets Cure Cancer for Jason campaign was held to honor the life and legacy of Jason Perkins, a Mayville State alumnus who was a member of the Comets Football chain-gang, where he loved being close to the field. At athletic events in Mayville State’s Lewy Lee Fieldhouse, Jason and his family could typically be found in the top row of the bleachers. Jason truly loved Mayville State sports and believed that sports united humanity. A military veteran who served in the Marine Corps and the Air Force, he believed in the goodness of humanity.
Jason was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) in 2019. He received treatment in Fargo and went into remission in August of that year. During a routine check in December of 2022, Jason’s blood test numbers started to come back as abnormal. After a lot of testing, he was found to have Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). A bone marrow or stem cell transplant was his only possibility for a cure.
Jason did not have a fully matched donor in his family, so he relied on NMDP to help him find a match and potential donor. He received his matched stem cells on Oct. 31, 2023. If it were not for someone giving him the gift of their cells, he would not have had the possibility for a cure.
Sadly, after a valiant fight, Jason lost his battle with cancer in December of 2023. He is survived by his wife, Hanah, and sons, Wyatt and Ethan, who live in Mayville, N.D.
To learn more about how you can join the registry and save a life for one of the 12,000 patients searching for a match, go to https://bethematch.org/.
Top: Rachael Rich, a representative of NMDP addresses a large audience of Mayville State student athletes and volunteers on the evening of Jan. 29.
Middle: Many student athletes representing all athletic teams and other student organizations volunteered their time to help others learn about the work of NMDP and the importance of joining the registry. Pictured here, members of the volleyball team helped get the campaign set up for the day on Jan. 30.
Bottom: Members of the Mayville State volleyball team were the first volunteers of the day at the NMDP match event held at Mayville State University and May-Port CG High School on Jan. 30.