Monday, July 20, 2015

Bone Marrow Registry 2015

Contact:  Linda Hilton, Marrow Representative
Phone:  423-328-7785
Date:  July 20, 2015



Be The Match® and Blood Assurance, Inc. will hold a marrow donor recruitment drive at the Abingdon Police Department as part of the “Battle of the Badges” blood drive on July 31st, 2015. Interested donors can come by 425 West Main Street, Abingdon to sign up for the marrow registry from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

            Each year, an estimated 12,000 persons in the U.S. are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma and aplastic anemia, and their best or only hope of a cure is a transplant from an unrelated donor.   In a bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant, the diseased bone marrow of a patient is replaced with healthy marrow which contains the important small immature cells called blood stem cells.               

            Linda Hilton, Be The Match® Marrow Representative with Blood Assurance, said that in order for a transplant to be successful, the genetic Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) or "tissue type" of the patient must match the tissue type of the donor.   "The unique characteristics or traits of an individual's marrow are inherited, in the same way as hair and eye colors are inherited.  A patient’s most likely match may be another family member, usually a sibling," Hilton said.  

            Most patients (about 70%) in need of a transplant do not have a matching donor in their family.   For thousands of people who do not have a genetically matched relative, the need is critical to find an unrelated donor.  The Be The Match Registry®, which is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP) maintains a database of volunteers who have agreed to donate bone marrow or blood stem cells if ever matched with a patient in need of a transplant.

            In order to join Be The Match Registry as a potential donor, volunteers must be between the ages of 18 and 44 and in good general health.  After completing a registration / consent form and health questionnaire, the volunteer uses a cotton-tip swab to give a sample of check cells.  From the sample of cheek cells, a volunteer's genetic "tissue type" is obtained. This "type" is entered into Be The Match

Registry, and is available for patients around the world as they search for a match

No actual bone marrow or blood stem cells are taken from a volunteer during the donor recruitment drive.
          "Commitment is the key to helping patients.  When you join Be The Match Registry, you are promising to help any patient in need, anywhere in the world,” said Linda Hilton.  Just as you would want someone to donate to save the life of someone in your family, you need to be willing to donate to save someone else’s family member.   Your choice to give the gift of marrow or blood stem cells may cost a few hours of your time, but its long-term value is priceless.  It gives someone a second chance at life.                

            Be The Match Registry® is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), a nonprofit organization with more than 25 years of experience in the field of unrelated marrow and blood stem cell transplantation.  The NMDP has facilitated more than 60,000 transplants since operation began in 1987.   


Talking Points
·        Every 3 minutes, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer.
·        Every year, more than 12,000 patients in the US are diagnosed with life-threatening blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma.
·        Be The Match connects patients who have life-threatening blood cancers and other diseases with their donor match for life-saving marrow.
·        A marrow transplant from an unrelated donor (when no family member is a match) may be their best and only hope of a cure.
·        Blood Assurance is your local Be The Match donor center.
·        To join the Be The Match Registry:
1.   Be in good health.
2.   Be between the ages of 18-44.
3.   Complete a Consent Form and collect cheek swabs to get your HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) tissue typing.
4.   COMMIT to being available for any patient who may need a transplant now or in the future.
·        Patients with diverse ancestry have a harder time finding a donor. Donors with diverse heritage are especially needed. 
·        If you are possible match for a patient after joining, Blood Assurance staff from our marrow department will contact you.  Education about future steps will be provided and blood samples may need to be drawn for additional testing.
·        There are 2 ways to donate: 
1.   PBSC (peripheral blood stem cells) donation is non-surgical and the most common way to donate today.  You receive a drug that increases the number of blood stem cells in the blood stream.  The blood stem cells are collected in the same way as a platelet donation procedure, called apheresis.
2.   Marrow donation is an outpatient surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia.  Bone marrow is removed from the back of the hips from inside the bones, using a special needle and syringe.  Less than 5% of your marrow is removed. Your marrow regenerates within 6 weeks.
·        Donor expenses are paid by Be The Match and patient’s insurance.
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