Area group organizes third Cape Girardeau bone marrow registry drive

The Cape Girardeau County Area Medical Society Alliance is holding a free bone marrow registry drive today at Southeast Hospital.

The process involves submitting four self-administered cheek swabs and completing a medical checklist and registration form, said Denise Mosley, account executive for Be the Match Registry, the national registry of bone marrow donors.

People with diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma and sickle-cell anemia rely on the registry to find a lifesaving bone marrow donation. According to the Be the Match Registry website, 70 percent of patients do not have a match within their family and depend on the registry to find an unrelated donor.

Mosely said there are "a lot of myths" about registering and donating that prevent people from joining the registry. In fact, she said, it takes about 15 minutes to provide the swabs and screening forms and about 75 percent of donors who are matched with patients can provide lifesaving cells through simple blood-cell donation. The other 25 percent, usually those donating to infants and children, undergo a surgical procedure under anesthesia during which liquid marrow is removed from their bone. The most common side effect afterward is a few days of soreness, she said.

This is the third registry event organized by the Cape Girardeau County Area Medical Society Alliance, said Denise Salmon, who heads the alliance's drive. The alliance is a group of spouses of local physicians and dentists who volunteer their time to support community medical health. The Cape Girardeau organization is the largest such alliance in Missouri.

Last January, the first drive was held at Saint Francis Medical Center with a goal of 50 registrants. They surpassed that, signing up 71 donors. In October, a larger event was held in conjunction with the Monster Match 5K Race and 121 people joined. The alliance pays all registration fees, which are about $100 per person to cover DNA screening and processing. Donations will be accepted at the drive.

Only a fraction of registrants are called to help a patient, and donors are expected to remain on the registry until age 61. One woman who signed up in October donated to a patient on Valentine's Day, Mosely said.

"Everyone I've ever met who has donated has said they would do it again in a minute," Mosely said.

The registry drive will take place from 1 to 7 p.m. in the Harrison Room at Southeast Hospital. No appointment is necessary. Donors must be between 18 and 60, and people of diverse racial and ethnic heritage are encouraged to participate.

For more information, contact Salmon at 334-8268.


Pertinent address:

1701 Lacey St., Cape Girardeau, MO