MSU graduate student to make potentially life-saving bone marrow donation

Identified this summer as a potential donor by the national Be The Match Registry, Mississippi State computer science graduate student and Famous Maroon Band graduate assistant Martin Kinsey of Pascagoula is excited about making a potentially life-saving bone marrow donation this semester. (Photo by Megan Bean)

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A Mississippi State Famous Maroon Band member is preparing to make a potentially life-saving bone marrow donation.

Last year, the Mississippi State Famous Maroon Band saw more than 150 of its members join the national bone marrow registry, and this summer, Martin Kinsey received a call from the national Be The Match Registry, identifying him as a potential donor.

Now, Kinsey is preparing for the procedure that could change a 14-year-old recipient’s life forever.

Is he nervous?

The computer science graduate student from Pascagoula said he couldn’t be more excited.

“When I found out I could sign up to be a potential donor, I couldn’t not do it. My family has been really supportive, and they’re excited for me and the girl who will be receiving the donation,” said Kinsey, a second-year graduate assistant for the Famous Maroon Band, the largest college band in university history and in the state of Mississippi.

An MSU summa cum laude software engineering graduate, Kinsey said he was pursuing a summer internship with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., when the Be The Match organization notified him that he was a potential donor.

As instructed by the organization, Kinsey underwent bloodwork and a day-and-a-half-long physical. He said both processes have prepared him for the outpatient surgery procedure, which will take place at the University of Alabama-Birmingham Hospital sometime this semester.

“Be The Match told me the donation should be a quick process. I may be out of school for two to three days and sore, but that’s about it,” said Kinsey, who was a Famous Maroon Band member during all four years of his undergraduate studies. He also served as saxophone squad leader during his junior and senior years.

Last year, the Famous Maroon Band was among 31 band programs from around the country that sponsored bone marrow registry drives as part of Be The Match’s “Banding Together” initiative. Of the 2,109 members added to the national registry, 32 were chosen as possible donors, including Kinsey. Fourteen of these have made life-saving donations to patients in need.

During a recent Famous Maroon Band rehearsal, 94 band members added their names to the national bone marrow registry.

“We’re really proud of Martin for his willingness to help a person in need of a bone marrow donation,” said MSU Associate Director of Bands Craig Aarhus.

“We had excellent participation in the drive last year and this year, and we hope that this year’s drive will help identify other potential donors in our band who might be able to assist in the future,” added the associate professor in MSU’s nationally accredited Department of Music. 

Operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, Be The Match manages the world’s largest and most diverse donor registry that supports patients who are battling life-threatening diseases, such as leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell disease.

According to, a bone marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant can be a potentially life-saving treatment for more than 70 different diseases, including several blood cancers.

For more information on the Be The Match Registry, visit the above-mentioned website or follow on Facebook and Twitter @BeTheMatch. Mary LeSueur, account executive for the National Marrow Donor Program, also may be contacted at 662-403-0091 or mlesueur@NMDP.ORG.

For more on the Famous Maroon Band, visit; MSU’s nationally accredited Department of Music at

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at