10,000 patients need a bone marrow transplant. Half receive one.
I joined the National Marrow Donor Program in 2003, after my daughter's best friend was diagnosed with leukemia and faced a marrow transplant.
The process was simple; it required nothing more than simply giving blood. That's it. The center takes your blood, types it and stores all your necessary info in their computers. If you're found to be a match they'll contact you. To date, I've never been notified I'm a match with anyone in need.
I was reminded of the fact I'm a prospective donor today, when I needed to update my info in their files. As long as it was already on my mind I decided to post a short note about how easy it is to give and how crucial it can be in saving a life.
From the Be The Match website:
Q: What is the donation process like?
A: Adult donors may be asked to donate in one of two ways:
- Bone marrow donation is a surgical procedure in which liquid marrow is withdrawn from the back of the donor's pelvic bones using special, hollow needles. General or regional anesthesia is always used for this procedure, so donors feel no needle injections and no pain during marrow donation. Most donors feel some pain in their lower back for a few days afterwards.
- Peripheral blood cell (PBSC) donation involves removing a donor's blood through a sterile needle in one arm. The blood is passed through a machine that separates out the cells used in transplants. The remaining blood is returned through the other arm.
That's it. You'll have a sore hip for a few days and someone else will have the chance of living a full life because you cared.
If you are between the ages of 18 and 60 please consider joining the registry. If you cannot or wish not to, please consider donating money to the foundation.
I wasn't a match for Ellen but someone else was. And today she's a freshman in college, pursuing a career in nursing. She's alive because another person signed up. I can only imagine how great that feels.
Thanks for your consideration.