Swab to Save a Life! Register to be a Bone Marrow Donor
If you are between the ages of 18-44, you are eligible to register to be a bone marrow donor.
Help save lives! Did you know that all it takes to register to be a bone marrow donor is a simple application and a cheek swab? It’s so easy but most people don't know how to register or what might be required of them if called to donate. Meanwhile, every 10 minutes someone dies from a blood cancer - that's 148 people each day. Only 30 percent of patients who need a bone marrow transplant have a matching donor in their families. The remaining 70 percent must hope that a compatible stranger can be found using the national registry.
What is involved in registering?
- If you are between the ages of 18-44 and in generally good health, you can register by filling out a simple application and swabbing your cheek
- The whole registration process takes about 10 minutes
- Your information (including your HLA tissue type) will be entered into the national registry through Be the Match and the National Marrow Donor Program
- You do not make any sort of donation on the day of the drive; you just complete an application to be submitted to the national registry
- After you are registered you wait. Only about 1 in 430 people are a match and ultimately end up donating to save a life
What happens if you are a match? What is involved with donating?
- If you are a match and you choose to donate, you may potentially save someone’s life
- If you are a preliminary match for a patient based on your tissue type from the cheek swab, you will receive a request for follow up blood work to confirm you are the best match
- If you are the best match for a patient, then donation works in 1 of 2 ways:
- 80% of the time the donation is made through PBSC, which stands for peripheral blood stem cell donation. It is a non-surgical procedure in which the donor’s blood is filtered so that extra stem cells are given to the patient and then the donor’s blood is returned to the donor’s body.
- 20% of time, the stem cells are removed from the marrow in the back of the donor’s pelvic bone. The donor has general anesthesia and feels no pain.
- There are no long term side effects for either procedure. Both procedures save lives.
- A donor has the opportunity to change his or her mind at any point in the process
Why is this important?
- If you or a loved one gets a blood cancer and are in of a transplant, only 30 percent of patients find a donor in their families -- the remaining 70 percent rely on finding a match in the national registry
- A patient is more likely to find a match from a donor who shares his or her ethnic background – so improving the diversity of the registry is extremely important
- Minorities are woefully underrepresented in the registry and minority patients seeking a transplant are therefore at a great disadvantage in finding a match
This drive is being sponsored by Be The Match, the recruitment arm of the National Marrow Donor Program and SAMAR, the South Asian Marrow Association of Recruiters. We are running this drive to increase awareness of this very important public issue and to find a donor match for Dr. Hurikadale Sundaresh, professor emeritus of CWRU’s medical school (he served as a clinical professor of pediatrics). A retired pediatrician and active member of the South Asian community, Dr. Sundaresh was recently diagnosed with a blood cancer and is in desperate need of a marrow transplant and right now the registry has no matches.
Please come to the drive on 9/13 and register! If you cannot make it to the drive, please register online at https://join.bethematch.org/sundaresh and a swab kit will be mailed to you.