Saturday, September 4, 2010

Bone Marrow Drive

The bone marrow drive has been officially scheduled for October 13th from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm in the hospital lobby.  We will need at least 5 volunteers at the event at all times.  We also need help with set-up and clean-up.

About the Be The Match Registry (formerly National Marrow Donor Program Registry):
  • There are over 7 million people on the registry.
  • Minorities are underrepresented on the registry.  As much as 80% of African-Americans who need a bone marrow transplant never find a match.
  • When people on the registry are called and told they are a potential match for someone needing a bone marrow transplant, more than 50% back out and do not donate.

About joining:
  • A simple cheek swab is needed to join the registry - they will use the sample to determine your HLA type
  • Once you've joined the registry, you will be on it until your 61st birthday unless you remove yourself (which you can do at any time) or develop a medical condition making you ineligible for donation.
  • You can't join if you have blood diseases, cancers, autoimmune diseases, immune deficiencies, or back disease such as disk herniation (don't know why on that one).
  • You will get a donor card with an identification number.  You will be able to update your contact information online, which is important when you're on the registry!
If one is asked to donate:
  • There are two methods of donation, bone marrow aspiration (from iliac crest) or peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) filtration.
  • PBSC filtration is performed by first giving the donor a five day course of filgastrim, then filtering the stem cells out of the blood and returning the rest of the blood to the donor.
  • The method of donation is up to the physician performing the transplant, over 80% of the time PBSC is chosen.
  • Studies have not shown a clear benefit over one method or the other to either donor or recipient.
  • If you are a preliminary match for someone, you will be contacted and asked if you are still willing to go through the process.
What are the chances of being asked to donate?
  • It largely depends on your HLA type.  Most people are never asked to donate though.
For more information, go to

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