NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- During March, USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) medical department has been working hard to encourage Sailors to donate bone marrow.
While providing information to Sailors who want to contribute bone marrow or just learn new information on the subject, they are also taking samples and informing Sailors about the screening process.
This is not the first year Carl Vinson has participated in the bone marrow drive, but they are aiming high to accomplish the same goal as last year.
In March 2006, Carl Vinson's Sailors made history when more than 1,500 Sailors volunteered to save a life by donating their bone marrow for screening and a possible match.
"It was a phenomenal effort," said Lt. Matthew Mattro, Carl Vinson medical training officer. "Now, a year later, we are still sending Sailors to participate in further testing."
Since the initial process, the National Bone Marrow Registry has retained the results and is using them to determine possible matches in the future. Once the possible matches have been found, Sailors will undergo a blood test to determine whether they're a 100 percent match.
If a Sailor is found to be a match, they will be contacted by the National Bone Marrow Registry and asked to donate their bone marrow. The Sailor could be the key factor in saving a life of someone they've never met.
Normally the registry expects to find one donor out of every 1,000 people screened, said Lt. Cindy Campbell, Commander Naval Region Southwest (CNRSW) Bone Marrow program director.
To this day, Carl Vinson's efforts can be seen in the results, and only one other carrier in history has contributed more samples to the bone marrow registry.
Mattro said considering the amount of people on the ship compared to an operational carrier, Carl Vinson stands alone.
"We had around 60 percent of ship's company participate," said Mattro. "That's just amazing."
Carl Vinson's accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. Every corpsman that had a hand in the drive received a letter of commendation from CNRSW. Sixteen of the Sailors who participated have been selected as possible matches, and four have donated.
Storekeeper 2nd Class (AW/SW) Donald Kivel, a donor from Carl Vinson Supply Department, was happy to be a part of such a significant project.
"I saved a life," said Kivel. "It felt good helping those in need."
While every Sailor who participated was granted a 24-hour special liberty, the greater reward comes from the chance to add years to someone's life.
"I didn't know who I gave my bone marrow to, except that he was a middle-aged male," said Kivel. "My donation probably helped add 20 to 30 years to his life, and that makes it worth the time."
For related news, visit the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.