Magnificat teens saving lives with 'Be the Match' cancer program: Romona's Kids

ROCKY RIVER, OH (WOIO) - A local high school senior is literally saving lives, thanks to an amazing program that's been running for nearly ten years now.

Lizzie Martinez has been coordinating the Be The Match Senior Swab For Life campaign at Magnificat High School for the past four years.

"Basically it's an organization that pairs people who are suffering from different blood cancers like leukemia with people who are healthy and can donate bone marrow and stem cells," said Martinez.

Lizzie's older brother and sister started signing up graduating 18 year olds for the National Bone Marrow Registry at St. Ignatius High School and Magnificat in 2009.

"I remember helping out with the labeling and the swabs and things like that and I saw how big of an impact this can make because we had a match every single year that we've been doing this," said Martinez.

This year, Martinez and her team made it a joint effort with Saint Joseph Academy, Saint Ignatius, and Saint Edward High School.

"So we all came together and there's no better place to look for 18 year olds who want to help than Catholic High Schools so I think it's perfect that we can come here and everyone can help out and do their best," said Bain Kurtz, St. Ignatius senior. "It's really not very hard, it's just 15 minutes of paperwork, and a cheek swab, why wouldn't you do it, you could be saving someone's life."

"It takes no talent to save a life for someone with blood cancer, you don't have to be athletic or smart, it literally takes your bone marrow, it's so selfless," said Michael McCaffrey, St. Ignatius senior.

"It's really something that you can be a part of that you know you're actually saving lives," said Martinez. "This is something that you're really helping somebody or maybe one of your family members before you even know they need it.

One of the notable success stories: A Magnificat graduate donated marrow and saved the life of a 2-year-old boy. The team also just heard that there's a match from a student who signed up in 2010.

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