News

Michelle Koopman achieves gold

By From page A1 | November 08, 2017

ORHS senior Michelle Koopman has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouts. Courtesy photo

Oak Ridge High School senior Michelle Koopman has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award for her efforts to raise awareness about the importance of joining the national bone marrow registry, a topic that has extra meaning for the 17-year-old.

“I chose this project because when I was 4 I was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, which is when the body stops producing blood cells,” Michelle explained. “Three months later my mom and I moved to Wisconsin so I could have a bone marrow transplant. I had several potential matches, but they were all in Europe.” Meanwhile Michelle’s father and younger brother remained in California.

Michelle vividly recalls meeting other children who were also waiting for transplants during the time she spent in the hospital and in the Ronald McDonald House and. “Some of the children didn’t have any good matches and others didn’t have any matches at all,” she recalled. “I chose this project to raise awareness of the bone marrow registry so that others can find the matches they need to survive.”

For the first part of her project, Michelle created a public service announcement available on YouTube that she titled How to Save a Life. “For the video I reached out through various Facebook groups and asked people who had had bone marrow transplants to send me a photo … and the date of their transplants,” Michelle said. “It was great to reach out to many different people who had also had bone marrow transplants. Some of them shared their personal stories with me and they were amazing.”

Once the video was ready, Michelle shared it to the national registry Be The Match, various Facebook groups as well as with the area blood, plasma and platelet donation chain BloodSource.

Next Michelle aimed to raise awareness in person. She hosted an informational booth at the El Dorado Hills Community Services District summer concerts and made bookmarks, which are available at the El Dorado Hills Library and at Face In A Book.

Michelle joined Girl Scouts in the second grade and is a member of El Dorado Hills Troop 2160.

She will receive the Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout may earn, during a group presentation this spring along with other Girl Scouts earning the honor. Michelle earned the Silver Award in 2013 and the Bronze Award in 2011.

Julie Samrick

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Discussion | 1 comment

  • Cyndi MooreNovember 10, 2017 - 6:45 am

    Congratulations, Michelle! What an impressive accomplishment and impactful project.

    Reply

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