Be the Match event at SIU inspired by toddler in Saluki family
CARBONDALE, Ill. — A Feb. 15-16 event at Southern Illinois University Carbondale literally offers the chance to save a life.
Ari Chambers-Baltz was born in May 2021 to Saluki family members Stephanie Chambers-Baltz and Daniel Baltz, and in July 2022 was diagnosed with Hyper IGM, an inborn immune disorder that prevents his body from detecting and fighting infections. Ari needs a blood stem cell transplant to survive, but unfortunately, there is no family match. So SIU’s Student Health Services is partnering with Be the Match, a national donor registry program, to help.
Ages 18-40 can help
A donor drive will take place at the south entrance to the Student Center, 1255 Lincoln Drive, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Joining the registry is simple, organizers say. Anyone between the ages of 18 and 40 can help. All you need to do is show up, have a quick cheek swab and commit to donating to Ari – or someone else in a similar situation – if you’re a match. Those who are unable to attend can also send a text “SIU4Ari” to 61474 to have a swab delivered to you.
In addition, any organization, club, team or group can also complete the online form at https://forms.gle/khN32npR73rivqKb9 to have swabs delivered, and registration can be completed at the group’s next meeting.
Help for a Saluki family
Stephanie Chambers-Baltz earned her doctorate in counseling psychology from SIU and is currently employed as a staff counselor at Student Health’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Daniel Baltz, Ari’s father, earned his master’s in sociology at SIU and is currently completing his doctorate in sociology while also teaching research methods in the program.
Friends and colleagues have helped organize the event to increase the odds of finding a donor for the curly-haired toddler and to draw awareness to the needs of others battling various health conditions where a stem cell transplant is lifesaving.
For more information, contact Shelly Ridgeway, assistant director of Student Health Services and director of Wellness and Health Promotion Services (WHPS), at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Student Center’s event Facebook page.