The Rhetoric of a Bone Marrow Donation

On Friday April 2, I volunteered with the AU Public Health Association to host a registration drive for Be The Match— the national bone marrow donor registry. The event was fairly successful, with 38 people (including myself) signing up for the registry during our three hour event.

My first assignment was to stand outside of Ward when class let out at 11 am and ask people if they’d be interested. I asked everyone that walked out, asking “Hey guys! Would you be interested in signing up for the national bone marrow donor registry?” I never got so many dirty looks in my life. People heard “bone marrow donor” and wanted nothing to do with it.

After everyone passed I went back to the table and overheard the Be The Match employee doing the same thing. I noticed that she was screaming out to people: “Hey guys, you want to sign up to save a life today?” She wasn’t getting any dirty looks, just people saying “sure, what do I have to do?” Most of them didn’t sign up, but she at least got their attention.

Asking them to “save a life” was a loaded question. It made it impossible to resist, especially at a school like AU that has such an emphasis on social justice. “Well when you put it that way… I feel shitty if I say no” one person responded.

And so I learned how to force people to listen to me. It was all just in the rhetoric. People decided if they would stop and listen after a few words. I just had to make those first few words words they couldn’t resist.

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