Patients worldwide need you

Did you know that in the United States alone, one person dies every ten minutes due to leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma?

This post is quite unlike most things I normally share with you. While I always hope that calls to action will transcend self-imposed boundaries to compassion, this one really does come without religion or politics.

This past summer, after a friend lost her father to leukemia, and after watching another close friend fight lymphoma – I registered with the National Marrow Donor Program, through SAMAR. I had learned that while healthy bone marrow can save lives, many people who urgently need it are unable to find viable donor matches. Signing up to be a potential bone marrow donor is easy – some simple paperwork and a painless cheek swab are all it takes to submit your cells for DNA matching and evaluation.

Just a few weeks ago, I received a phone call and letter, notifying me that I had come up as a match for a 61-year old woman with leukemia. The process from that point moved quickly: I submitted to an evaluation of my physical health. Then, bloodwork would be sent in to determine if the patient and I were in fact a perfect match. As far as I was concerned, there was no thinking it through – if I was a match, I would absolutely undergo the donation process.

Regrettably, my health evaluation revealed that while my donation would have been safe for the recipient to receive (no communicable diseases, a healthy lifestyle, etc) – the donation process would not actually be physically safe for me. If the procedure would cause abnormally high risk to the donor, the National Marrow Donor Program will not proceed. Unfortunately, then, I cannot help to save this patient – or any other – with my own bone marrow.

That’s where you come in. I can’t help – but maybe you can.

The registration process truly is simple and painless. Click here to learn more about joining the donor registry. There are options for registering online or in person.

If you are unable to donate for whatever reason – like an autoimmune disorder – you can still contribute to help save lives. Call 1-800-MARROW-2 to learn more, or visit this website.

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6 thoughts on “Patients worldwide need you

  1. SUcks it’s not safe for you to donate marrow. Well, look at it this way, it’s not like you’re not trying to help at all. Sometimes it truely is the thought that counts. Suppose I should register myself. Thanks for the links and info. 🙂

  2. Thank you for this post. Your efforts have touched me deeply. I watched my mother suffer through all three types of lymphoma over a 9 year period. She had a bone marrow transplant at UCSD Medical Center 2 years before she died – had it not been for a multitude of other health issues (complicated by 37 years of smoking) she’d quite possibly still be with us as a result of that miraculous procedure. Unfortunately as a bone (chondrosarcoma in my femur) cancer survivor, I’m no longer a viable donor. If even one person who reads this post follows through and makes the life-saving contribution, the positive energy that results will come back to you.

  3. Thank you, thank you Raquel for posting this. Signing up to be a blood/marrow donor is so easy, but the reward is huge. How many of us can say we truly helped to save someone’s life? Hospitals across the world are always short of supplies of blood and marrow as they cannot be stored for long periods of time, so they can’t ‘stock up’ so to say. New donors are always needed!

  4. This post definitely hits home- our aunt past away in October of Multiple Myeloma- when she was diagnosed it was in advanced stage so all that could be done was palliative- because this type really has no cure…
    But I urge everyone to learn about these diseases and if they are able to donate or give to foundations who are searching for cures…and if that is not possible, your prayers and duas for all those who are struck…

  5. This is truly inspiring to read. As you pointed out, people get much more interested in donating once they’ve learned about the specific people they’d be helping — the numbers certainly tell part of the story, but it’s the faces that make a real difference.

    You (and your readers) might be interested in Gift of Life, a similar marrow registry. They’re doing a lot of work using blogs and social media to spread awareness.

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