Autumn Cole was first diagnosed with leukemia at age 18 during her senior year of high school. Cole, now a 20-year old nursing student at Marshall University, is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant.
In an effort to find her a lifesaving donor, the university’s DKMS Student Organization will host a swab drive 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 18, on the Memorial Student Center plaza. Cole said she appreciates all of the support and love from the university community.
“Ever since I was diagnosed, I knew there was a reason,” Cole said. “God doesn’t put you through things without reasoning. I had wanted to go into nursing since my junior year of high school, but I didn’t know what route to take. I now know that I want to go into pediatric oncology nursing.”
Cole said she finished one year of college and was accepted into Marshall University’s School of Nursing. She had just finished her first week of classes when she found out she had relapsed.
“I’m battling leukemia for the second time, but I hope to graduate in May 2021 after my recovery,” Cole said. “Now I just have to get through this and I’ll be back on track. My friend Adam has been lot of help with getting potential donors. I went to high school with him, and he has seen my journey from the beginning and has always been on top of things.”
Adam Guthrie, organizer of the swab drive, said he started the student DKMS group in 2016 and since then, they have registered 406 students as potential bone marrow donors. Guthrie said he encourages faculty, staff, students and Huntington community members to attend the Oct. 18 swab drive.
“I hope this event brings in a lot of potential donors because if they’re not helping me, they’re helping someone else who doesn’t have a match,” Cole said. “There are so many people out there who need a donor.”