Gorman & Bunch Orthodontics office teams with Project 44

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By Heather Lusk

Bone marrow registry and orthodontics don’t logically go hand in hand. But for Gorman & Bunch Orthodontics, there’s more to life than straightening teeth.

“It’s more than about making smiles. We have an opportunity to make a difference in our community,” Dr. Jason Bunch said.

Bunch’s office launched “Be the Match” throughout March, with a goal to inspire 430 people to join the bone marrow registry to donate cells to help patients with cancer or leukemia.

Bunch’s office is partnering with Project 44, created to honor former Butler basketball player Andrew Smith, who wore No. 44. His widow, Samantha Smith, started the nonprofit organization after her husband lost his two-year battle with cancer.

Andrew Smith, who grew up in Zionsville, received a bone marrow transplant after being diagnosed with leukemia. The transplant extended his life several months.

On average, for every 430 people who register, only one matches a patient and donates. That made the goal of 430 registrants very easy.

“We may be able to save someone’s life,” Bunch said. “That puts some power behind what we’re doing.”

The office had already undertaken a “Be the Change” mentality with its staff. “Be the Match” seemed like a perfect fit. Bunch plans to conduct other projects in the future to make a difference in the community.

“That pay-it-forward mentality is so great,” Bunch said. “As you mature, you learn what’s important in life.”

To join the bone marrow registry, first register online at gormanbunch.com/bethechange to obtain a cheek swab kit.

After swabbing the cheek, the kit is returned to the registry. Matched donors are asked to donate healthy blood-forming cells to patients with unhealthy cells.

The campaign will be promoted at all seven locations of Gorman & Bunch Orthodontics in central Indiana.

Patients and their families will be encouraged to visit the orthodontics office website to register. 

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