We were warned at the beginning of Abby's treatment that it would be very difficult if not impossible to find a bone marrow match for her if she needed one. She is most likely to match with a person who is Hispanic and Mayan Indian. This is very difficult because Latinos and other ethnic groups are very underrepresented in bone marrow registries.
Since that time I have also watch many families struggle to find a bone marrow match for their child. While the biggest need is for non-Caucasian donors, I have seen many white children who have had difficulty locating a donor. We need every person, no matter their ethnic background, to register as a bone marrow donor.
Because Abby doesn't have a sibling who can donate bone marrow, they won't do a bone marrow transplant unless she relapses. But, there are many, many children who are in need of a transplant today. One of the most helpful things you can do to help them is to register. During this blood drive, all fees have been waved, so it is free for you to sign up.
Below is a message from a family who adopted a boy from Guatemala. Even after chemo, he still has cancer present in his bone marrow. Baring a miracle, he will have to get a bone marrow transplant in order to live. Please take a minute to read their message and to register.
Mateo needs a bone marrow transplant and there are currently no matching donors. He was born in Guatemala and finding a match has been difficult. We need as many people as possible to register and join the database, not only for Mateo, but for any of the people waiting for donors. Any type of donor is welcome, but non-Caucasian donors are dramatically under-represented in the database.
Please feel free to pass this message on!
If you haven't registered with the National Marrow Donor Program, now is the time. During this drive, the testing fee is waived. You can sign-up ONLINE and submit your samples by mail.
1. Between 8-22 June 2009, Go to: http://www.marrow.org/
2. Click JOIN
3. Review the medical guidelines
4. Fill out the information so the NMDP can contact you if you are a match
5. Use the PROMO CODE: "swab4mateo" so we can track donors from this drive.
6. Receive your kit in the mail and perform four simple swabs of the inside of your cheek and send them back.
Your chances of matching anyone are about 1 in 20,000 - but if you are THE match, you could be the one to save some one's life. Donors must:
1. Be between the ages of 18-60
2. Meet the medical guidelines (http://marrow.org/JOIN/Med_Guidelines_Join/index.html)
3. Be willing to donate to any person in need.
If you are a match for someone, there are two methods of donating :
30% of the time: 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. Mateo undergoes a similar process ever few weeks. If he can do it, so can you!
70% of the time: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. You can donate at a facility local to you and the costs of donating are paid by the recipient or their insurance. FAQ about Bone Marrow donation:
BE THE MATCH!