Bone Marrow Donation
A bone marrow transplant is a life-saving procedure for patients fighting blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, immune deficiency disorders, and other cancers. But, donors are hard to find. Unlike many blood product donations where a family member is often the best match, this is not the case for bone marrow.
What is Bone Marrow?
According to the American Cancer Society, bone marrow, a type of stem cell, is a soft, spongy material found in large bones. It makes more than 200 billion new blood cells every day, including red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
What is a Bone Marrow Transplant?
A bone marrow transplant involves taking cells that are normally found in the bone marrow (stem cells), filtering those cells, and giving them back either to the donor (patient) or to another person. The goal of a bone marrow transplant is to transfuse healthy bone marrow cells into a person after his or her own unhealthy bone marrow has been treated to kill the abnormal cells.
Finding a Donor
Patients need donors who are a genetic match. Even with a registry of millions, many patients cannot find a match. In fact, almost 70 percent of patients in need of a marrow transplant do not have a matching donor in their family. To help more patients find a donor, there is a great need to increase the ethnic diversity of the registry in addition to growing the registry as a whole.
Become a Donor
Be The Match ®, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, manages the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world. You can join the registry and find out more information by clicking on the link here. You will be asked to create an account and complete a survey where you will be asked a series of questions, which include a brief medical history and contact information. The process should only take around 10 minutes.
Once registered, you can request a free buccal swab kit to be mailed to your house. The kit is simple, as a person must only swab the inside of his or her cheek in order to provide the DNA needed to identify if he or she is a bone marrow match for someone.
You can also call (800) MARROW-2 to speak with someone should you have further questions.