Wolf Proud to Be The Match, Save A Life

When Arkansas Tech University student Ashley Wolf of Atkins filled out the paperwork necessary to become a member of the National Bone Marrow Registry during a Be The Match event on campus in April 2015, she hoped that it would lead to an opportunity to save someone’s life.

That hope became reality for Wolf when she was matched with a recipient and traveled to Washington, D.C., earlier this month to literally give of herself to benefit a complete stranger she will never meet.

“I just want to help people,” said Wolf. “As soon as I was old enough to do so, I was out there giving blood every three months. I was taking my physical in preparation to donate my stem cells, and they asked me who I was giving to. I told them I had no idea, and they thought that was awesome. But it doesn’t matter to me. What if I needed it? What if someone I know needed it and we had to rely upon a stranger? We’d want people to give. I’m more than willing to go through it.”

Wolf was not familiar with Be The Match until two members of the Arkansas Tech faculty — Dr. Jason Warnick and Dr. Julie Mikles-Schluterman — led an effort to bring a registration drive to campus.

Over a span of 24 hours, 1,696 individuals registered with Be The Match, including 254 during the first hour of the drive on April 14, 2015.

“It really made me feel good about Tech,” said Wolf. “To see the people who are willing to give just a little bit of their time for a bigger cause…you can potentially save a life by doing this. Seeing that unselfishness made me feel a larger sense of pride in my school.”

Wolf said she has given some thought to what she would say to the person who will receive the stem cells that she donated. She has the opportunity to write to the individual, but for confidentiality reasons neither the donor nor the recipient learn the identity of the other person.

“It’s a lot to think about,” said Wolf. “I would probably tell her that people out there do care. People are willing to give their time, money and everything to help. With the way the world is going, you see sad things left and right. This is something to be happy about and get excited about.”

Wolf is studying nursing at Arkansas Tech. She wants to work with infants and children after graduation.

Until she can apply her education to assist those in need directly, she wants to encourage others to sign up for Be The Match.

“In the beginning, it’s just a little cheek swab,” said Wolf. “Odds are you will not be called upon, but if you are, there is really no cost to you. It’s worth it because this is a life. You cannot put a monetary or time value on a life. I think it’s worth the time to try. The more people are on there, the more likely someone will find a match.”