A week or so ago, we wrapped up the Pennies for Patients drive at our school. The students raised over $4,000 which is really impressive for a school which receives 100% free-and-reduced lunches. Even if you don’t have money to donate, there’s something even more valuable that many patients need.
Be the Match is a bone marrow donation registry that helps match people who need transplants with a donor. From previous posts, most of you know that my niece, Jessa, was diagnosed with a leukemia relapse in November 2011 (She’d first been diagnosed at three years old and had been cancer free for over five years before being diagnosed for a second time.)
She’s recently completed her intensive clinical-trial treatments and will be on maintenance chemo for the next year. Once my niece completes all of her treatments, she’ll go into remission. If her cancer were to ever return, the doctors will go straight to a bone marrow donor for a transplant. No one in her immediate family is a match. Right now, she only has one match in the entire country.
If you’re not a member already, please consider joining Be the Match. Within a week of signing up, they sent a swab kit to my home. I swabbed the inside of my mouth and returned the package. It took less than five minutes. Though I signed up over a year ago, I’ve had no matches yet, but I do hope that I’m like Susan who became a bone marrow donor 17 years after signing up.
Facts About Blood Cancer & Marrow Donations
- Every year, more than 12,000 patients are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases—such as leukemia and lymphoma—for which a marrow or cord blood transplant from an unrelated donor may be their best or only hope of a cure.
- Every four minutes, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer.
- 70 percent of all patients who need a transplant do not have a matched donor in their family. They depend on the Be The Match Registry to find an unrelated donor or cord blood unit.
What are you waiting for?