Dublin Villager

Pranav Kaza

Scout's project will help those with blood cancers

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For his Eagle Scout project, Pranav Kaza is hoping to save lives.

The Jerome High School junior will hold three opportunities for people to sign up for Be the Match, a nonprofit organization that works to help people suffering with blood cancers by matching them with donors.

"The objective is to save the lives of patients with blood cancer," Kaza said.

"Be the Match has a registry of donors. They match DNA."

From 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 17, 24 and Dec. 8 at Indian Run Methodist Church, 6305 Brand Road, Kaza and a few other troops will educate people about Be the Match and hopefully sign up new donors.

"The main goal is to raise awareness of the illness," he said.

Kaza found out about the organization after a distant cousin was diagnosed with a blood cancer.

His cousin died, but Kaza's father got involved with Be the Match and sparked an idea for his Eagle Scout project.

"I didn't want to do anything like building something," he said. "I thought this would be unique."

Donors for Be the Match must be between the ages of 18 and 44, not have any blood diseases and fall under maximum weight limits, Kaza said.

The registry currently has about 10.5 million people, but the group is looking for more because there are patients that can't find a match, the website bethematch.org said.

To sign up, donors must fill out information forms and take a few cheek swabs.

"It's that simple," Kaza said.

Once those steps are completed, Kaza will send in the information and swabs to Be the Match, who will use the cheek swabs to identify DNA.

The information is kept on file and donors are eventually matched with blood cancer patients for bone marrow transplants.

Kaza, who joined the Cub Scouts in third grade before progressing to Boy Scouts in middle school, has been working on his Eagle Scout project for about two months.

In the weeks leading up to the events, getting the word out will be Kaza's main job; fliers and Facebook will help him.

Being an Eagle Scout was something Kaza knew he wanted to pursue when he joined Troop 299 based at Indian Run Methodist Church.

"It's what most people try to achieve," he said.

A few merit badges and finishing his Eagle Scout project lie between Kaza and the title, but deadlines don't worry him.

"I'm hoping to get everything done by the end of the school year," he said.

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