Since it is the season of giving and most nonprofit organizations are asking for your support, I wanted to offer a different way to give back, as a bone marrow donor. My mom died 18 months ago from Leukemia. She was lucky enough to receive a bone marrow transplant, but unfortunately, it wasn’t able to save her life. However, many people who need a transplant don’t get that chance because they can’t find the right donor match.
I remain in awe of the (anonymous) incredibly generous person who gave the gift of bone marrow to my mother. It is a remarkable act of generosity. And incredibly powerful to think that you are potentially giving the last best hope of life to someone you will never meet.
Which brings me to Be the Match. Be The Match provides bone marrow and umbilical cord blood transplants to patients with life-threatening blood cancers. Every year, 10,000 patients in America need a bone marrow or cord blood transplant from someone outside of their family, yet only half receive one. These patients depend on the Be The Match Registry, the world’s largest listing of potential marrow donors and donated cord blood units, to find a matched donor. Be The Match is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, a nonprofit organization that matches patients with donors, educates health care professionals and conducts research so more lives can be saved.
Be The Match’s goal is to provide marrow or umbilical cord blood transplants for all patients in need. And here’s where you come in.
There is a constant need to add new people to the Be The Match Registry. In 2011, more than 650,000 people joined the registry. The more people who join the Be The Match Registry, the better the chances all patients have of receiving a transplant. The chances of finding a match vary by individual based on their tissue type. Due to genetic diversity, a person’s tissue type may be common, uncommon or rare. Tissue types are inherited, so patients are most likely to match the tissue type of someone who shares their racial or ethnic heritage. Within every race or ethnicity, there are individuals with rare tissue types, which is why they continually strive to increase the size and the diversity of the Be The Match Registry.
So if you are looking for a different way to give back this holiday season, it’s simple to join the registry. You can find out more here.