Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Be The Match! (yes, you)

Have you ever considered donating bone marrow? 

We all have it... 

Each year approximately 10,000 patients need bone marrow transplants. Unfortunately, only about 60% of them receive the transplant they need. If that seems wrong to you, maybe you'd be interested in donating some of your own bone marrow to help raise that percentage.

There's a group called Be The Match  that would love to add you to their donor registry.

They're celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, and also their 50,000th transplant. In 1987 when they began their efforts they had 10,000 volunteers. Today the registry has grown to over 9 and a half million. 

Clearly with that many people donating they should have enough bone marrow to give everyone the transplant they need, right? 

Unfortunately, bone marrow is a finicky thing. Even some siblings are not a match for their brother or sister in need of a transplant. 

There's also not enough diversity in the registry. Right now there are more African-American and multi-racial patients in need of transplant than there are African-American and multi-racial donors. 

So many people like to run races to raise money for research as their chosen way of helping a cause. It's not the only way though. Donating an actual part of yourself is another way to help. Living people can not physically give their heart to save another life, because we only have one. However, living people can give their blood and their marrow-- because we have plenty.

For me personally, I'm in a good place right now with my medication keeping my leukemia in check. There are no guarantees though. Many people with my specific leukemia become resistant to the drugs, and other blood cancers don't even have a drug to try. Often times the only option is a bone marrow transplant (BMT). 

Can you imagine being told your life can be saved only if someone you may not know happened to make the decision to donate a piece of themselves?

What a scary position! 

Superheros exist in every day clothes. You can be someone's superhero--- Be The Match!


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