Student’s Spirit of Giving Saves a Life

Student’s Spirit of Giving Saves a Life

Photo of Hilary Ingram and StevyeIt took only a few seconds, and then she rushed off to class. But two years ago, Chico State graduate Hilary Ingram’s giving spirit ended up saving a life and bringing her fame she never could have expected.

In November of her senior year, Ingram (BA, Psychology and Criminal Justice, ’12) participated with her sorority in a campus blood drive. While donating, she saw a sign asking people to have their cheeks swabbed to see if they matched someone needing a bone marrow transplant.

“I was completely naïve about bone marrow and the need for a registry,” says Ingram, “but I wanted to do it, and then ran to class.”

Two months later, Ingram got a phone call—she was a potential match. In the following weeks, she filled out forms, had blood drawn, and then traveled to Stanford Hospital for a physical. After the exam, a doctor told Hilary she was a match for a 5-year-old girl with preleukemia.

“I didn’t think twice,” says Ingram. “I knew I wanted to do it.” 

At the beginning of the spring 2012 semester, Hilary returned to Stanford for surgery to withdraw liquid marrow from her pelvic bone. It was painful, but she was back in class on Monday.

While Ingram waited to hear news about her donation, she got more involved in bone marrow registry, leading Alpha Delta Pi in May 2012 to host an event where 144 people on campus had their cheeks swabbed. 

One year later, Do Something, the large nonprofit that started the Give a Spit About Cancer campaign, asked Ingram to speak at their 20th anniversary gala in New York. She got multiple ovations as she told her story, but then there was a surprise—a big screen onstage showed a healthy little girl named Stevye with her family thanking Hilary. While the crowd cheered, Hilary also heard she was being flown to Denton, Texas, to meet Stevye. 

In September, Glamour magazine published a story lauding Hilary as a hero and posted Do Something’s video about her trip to Texas. To watch the video, go here: http://goo.gl/r5ftFN.

 “I honestly feel lucky to be a potential match, to give bone marrow, to help get the word out,” says Ingram. “Stevye is a little fighter—she’s the real hero.”

—Joe Wills, Public Affairs and Publications

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Alum Notes

Terris McMahan Grimes

Terris McMahan Grimes

(BA, English, ’72) publishes novel set in West Oakland in 1964.

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Matt Petersen

(BA, Political Science, ’90) is LA’s first chief sustainability officer.

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Leland Gordon

Leland Gordon

(BA, Journalism, ’06) is editor of MaxPreps.com, a CBS high school sports site.

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