Thousands of patients with leukemia, lymphoma, severe sickle cell and other life-threatening diseases need marrow donor transplants.
You can help save a life by joining Be the Match RegistryŽ, the national marrow donor program. It takes only about 15 minutes and a cheek swab sample to join the national registry of potential donors.
The Cape Girardeau County Area Medical Society Alliance will hold a marrow registry drive on Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Osage Centre in Cape Girardeau, from 8 a.m. to noon. The drive will be held in conjunction with the Alliance's Halloween-themed Monster Match 5K Run/Walk. SoutheastHEALTH is the Presenting Sponsor. Money raised from the race, which kicks off at 8 a.m., will help fund costs of registering potential donors including processing DNA.
Donor registrations also will be taken on Friday, Oct. 26, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Auburn Place hotel. To sign up, you must be between the ages of 18 and 44, be willing to donate to any patient in need and meet a few simple health guidelines. There is no charge to sign up.
Denise Mosley, account executive with the Be the Match Registry regional office in St. Louis, says individuals, ages 45 to 59, can still join, but must do so online and pay the $100 tissue typing costs. "Research shows that cells from younger donors lead to more successful transplants," Mosley explains.
The Medical Society Alliance began holding the registry drives two years ago. The drives have registered a couple hundred people. "We have had two people chosen as donors," says Denise Salmon, who heads up the drive for the Alliance. "If you are chosen as a donor, you are literally saving a person's life." The majority of marrow is donated through blood draws, similar to donating platelets or plasma.
Mosley says there's only a 30 percent chance that a sibling will be the needed match. "Seventy percent of the time a person needing a marrow transplant is looking for a match from a total stranger," she notes. "Even with a registry of over 10 million potential donors, there are patients waiting to find a match."
Caucasians comprise nearly 7 million of the registered, potential donors. Only 685,000 African-Americans are on the rolls. Since tissue types are inherited, patients are most likely to match someone of their own race or ethnicity. "Registry members of diverse racial and ethnic ancestry are especially needed so every patient has the chance for a cure," Mosley says.
For information about the Monster Match race, contact Beth Daugherty at 573-979-3460 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.